HSTA Files Prohibited Practice Complaint Over Governor’s Directive for Teachers

March 18, 2020, 9:35 AM HST · Updated March 18, 9:38 AM
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Background image courtesy: HTSA

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association filed a prohibited practice complaint with the Hawaiʻi Labor Relations Board over Governor David Ige’s plan directing teachers to return to public schools on March 23, while all other non-essential government employees are being asked to stay home for 15 days.

The HSTA says the plan violates key provisions in their Collective Bargaining Agreement including: (1)
states that teachers shall not be required to work under unsafe or hazardous conditions or perform tasks which immediately endanger their health and safety; and (2) When students are sent home from school or are not required to attend due to emergencies which endanger health or safety, teachers will not be required to remain at, nor report to said schools.

Further HSTA claims the planned resumption of instruction for students on March 30th contradicts federal and state guidance that people should not gather in groups of 10 or more.

During a news conference Tuesday, the governor stated that services in places of worship exceeding this amount should be suspended, that bars and clubs should close, and restaurants should only serve customers through deliveries and take-out service.

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The governor referred to changing school schedules, assigning classes to different parts of the campus, staggering recess and lunch, and offering students’ lunch in classrooms. But the HSTA says it “strongly believes none of these options can be accomplished while still meeting current guidance.”

HSTA is willing to consider other options during this crisis, but has informed the HIDOE that forcing teachers to return to schools next week, March 23, without students, and the week after that, March 30, with students “will put the lives of educators, students, and families in danger and could help the coronavirus spread further in the islands.”

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association is the exclusive representative of 13,700 public school teachers statewide. As the state affiliate of the 3-million member National Education Association, HSTA represents and supports teachers in collective bargaining, as well as with legislative and professional development issues.

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