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Board to consider state, teachers dispute

June 18, 2012
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A dispute between Hawaii and the union representing teachers over a state-imposed contract is now in the hands of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

State officials and representatives with the Hawaii State Teachers Association filed final briefs Friday in a prohibited-practice complaint over the state's decision to impose a contract offer for teachers.

The labor board is being asked to decide whether the state can implement a so-called "last, best and final" contract under Hawaii labor laws.

In its filing, the Hawaii State Teachers Association disputed the state's argument that it had to impose the contract in order to avert layoffs.

"The economic necessity defense raised by respondents is no excuse for unlawfulness of their unilateral course of conduct," the brief said.

In its brief, the state countered by saying there is nothing in Hawaii law that prohibits implementation of a final contract offer when negotiations have stalled.

"After reaching impasse the employer is entitled, just as much as the union is, to resort to such other remedies that are not prohibited," the state said.

It's not known when the board will issue a ruling. When it does, it's expected that the decision is likely to be appealed to state court.



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