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March 30th, 2010

Open Letter to the Union

I sent an email to the state teachers' union this afternoon. The union is asking us to approve a "revised supplemental agreement" to our previously negotiated contract.


Mr. Okabe and Staff,

It is requiring great restraint on my part to refrain from typing a profanity-laced diatribe describing EXACTLY how I feel about your recent manipulative, self-serving "representation" as leaders of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

Last year YOU recommended we ratify the proposed contract, including a supplemental agreement. YOU told us it was "the best you could do."

Significantly, YOU told the membership that the supplemental agreement insured that all it would take -- ALL IT WOULD TAKE -- for teachers to go back to work and furloughs to end was the legislature providing the necessary funding and the governor approving that funding.

NOW you tell us, and I quote your recent email:

What does a NO vote mean?

*
A no vote means that members want to continue with furloughs this year and next.
*
A no vote means that the supplemental agreement will not be implemented and the school calendars for this year and next year will continue as planned with furlough Fridays. (Four more furloughs this year and 17 furloughs next year.)
*
There will be no further negotiations.



How dare you presuppose to speak for me in such a manner? Of course I, as a teacher, want furloughs to end. I want them to end THE WAY MY EXISTING CONTRACT ALLOWS, by a full restoration of funding, NOT through a complex system of "trade-offs" in which I, who have already sacrificed both financially and in my ability to best serve my students, will sacrifice even more by giving up hard-won planning and preparation time. You, who keep reciting the mantra of "sharing the burden," are asking -- no, TELLING -- us to forget the sharing, and to absorb the entire burden.

Why does a "no" vote mean the supplemental agreement will not be implemented? Can't the current supplemental agreement be implemented as it stands? Why will there be no further negotiations? The current governor and her staff will be out of office at the beginning of 2011. Why do YOU claim a "no" vote means the membership want to continue with furloughs? A "no" vote means we are tired of our HSTA leadership selling out and rolling over; a "no" vote indicates a deep distrust in the ability and the intent of our union leadership. A "no" vote means there is no blood left to be squeezed from this turnip.

My distrust of and disgust with the HSTA knows no bounds at this point. YOU, Mr. Okabe and staff, fill me with shame at being affiliated with YOUR, not MY, organization; and your efforts "on behalf" of Hawaii teachers leave me feeling ashamed of my profession. At best, I would grant that the HSTA is incompetent. More realistically, I see little to convince me that HSTA is anything other than manipulative, self-serving, and dishonest.


I did not post a related rant at Flickr. ;-p

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