By Alice Keesing
Advertiser Education Writer
After reaching a dead end in contract negotiations last week, the teachers union and state officials will sit down today to explore options for resolving the dispute.
Both parties rejected a fact-finding report last week that recommended a 19 percent raise for teachers. That launched them into a 60-day "cooling off" period, but both parties have said they will continue talking.
"Now that all the hoopla is over, we can assess where we might be," said the states chief negotiator Davis Yogi.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association is seeking a 22 percent pay increase over four years. It rejected the fact-finding report because it did not give an equal raise to more experienced teachers. Teachers earn between $29,000 and $58,000.
The state has offered a dollar amount that averages 9 percent over four years. Yogi is working on a new proposal, which the governor has suggested may be about 11 percent.
HSTA executive director Joan Husted said the federal mediator likely will be asked to help the two sides re-start negotiations.
"Were still talking, and I anticipate that we will be getting back to the table within the next week or so," said Husted.
Meanwhile, the union can call a strike vote during the cooling off period, although teachers cannot walk off the job until the 60 days are up. The last day of the cooling-off period is March 17. Union officials have said they do not want to strike.
[back to top]