Why our teachers are grateful for HSTA

Across the state, our educator members thank HSTA for the many benefits of membership










Christine Putzulu

First Grade Teacher

Daniel K. Inouye Elementary

“I am so grateful for our HSTA contract and I really appreciate the people who fight for our contract. I love the fact that we are given so many benefits from their work and from their struggles and their fights for us. I love the raises that we get, the duty-free lunches that we receive. I love that when we have an issue or concern, we can go to them, and they will help resolve our problems.”







Kathy Nelson


Hakipuu Learning Center PCS

She taught for 42 years in Wisconsin, where anti-union efforts hit hard, robbing her of her pension.

“When I taught for years in Wisconsin, I worked on the union. I was on the board. I did grievances, the committees. I felt like I was helping and contributing. I saw how my pay was going up, there was some retirement there. We put a lot of money toward retirement because we were all going to retire eventually. Not so once Scott Walker got there. Wisconsin, we really took a hit. And so when I came here, I was expecting to have a strong union. So I was happy to be part of last year’s march. We have to stick together. Together, united, we have a lot more power and we can fight.”





Tania Manaba Will

Kindergarten Teacher

Kaunakakai Elementary

”I am so grateful to HSTA. I love the camaraderie. I love the teachers. But HSTA fights.  So that’s why we need our union. If it weren’t for HSTA, we wouldn’t have the present raise that we have now. We have people that truly fight for us while we’re fighting in the classroom, they are at the Legislature or the House, fighting for us and being our leo nui or our strong voice there.”






Guy Ho

Physical Education Teacher

Kapaa High

“HSTA is very organized and keeps us up to date on the happenings with the dealings with the Legislature and the governor and so on. I’d say they have a strong voice, they’re always looking out for us and what benefits teachers.”  








Jodi Kunimitsu

Math Teacher

Maui High

“One of the things I’m most grateful for is our prep period. That the administration cannot tell us what to do during our prep period because we really need that as teachers. It’s such a short time and it’s valuable time. So not being forced to do what other people need me to do allows me that freedom. I’m grateful for the support that the union provides, the UniServ directors being able to help us enforce the contract so that we’re not having to do it on our own as teachers. Again, we’re super busy. So having the staff there to help us. I’m also personally grateful to HSTA for providing me leadership opportunities to help me develop my leadership skills through the organization.”







Marla Domingo

District Special Education Resource Teacher 


“I love the fact that our contract lays out our rights as teachers. So we are able to use the contract individually to find out what our resources are, what our strengths are and how to support each other within the classroom, within the district and within the state. HSTA also provides a nice social environment, a social setting for teachers to come together and support each other. It’s allowed us to practice our own levels of politics and governance. Anybody can be involved at their own level, whether you want to be at a school level or get into a state involvement. It works for everybody.”







Mike Landes

Social Studies Teacher

Lahainaluna High

“Without HSTA, we wouldn’t be getting the pay raises that we’re getting. We wouldn’t be getting the benefits that we get. Most importantly to me, we wouldn’t be getting the protections that we get at the school level. When there are decisions that are made, the fact that we know we have a voice in helping to make those decisions. When problems arise, the fact that we know we have representation and in a way, it’s almost like having an attorney going into court. We know that we have a group of people that can help look out for us and protect us professionally.”






Author: Keoki Kerr