Around 700 employees stand to lose their jobs if the state Department of Education in Hawaii is ordered to cancel the pay cuts, furloughs and higher health care premiums for teachers that it unilaterally imposed July 1. This according to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board filing that came out this past Monday.
The state is claiming that it is facing a “tremendous budget shortfall” that cannot be met with other cuts, that is why these pay cuts were put into place. The current pay cut will add up to around $31 million annually in savings.
This filing was put into motion as a response to a motion from the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which seeks to restore the conditions of a contract that expired June 30 and to compel the state to return to the bargaining table. A hearing on this motion is set for August 10th.
It seems like a no win situation right now for both the Hawaii Department of Education and the Teacher’s Union. Return proper pay to the teachers, and wind up with a huge budget shortfall. However, take the money away (as is the case now) and risk losing valuable educators to other jobs and other states. Hawaii can ill afford either of these options.
“When bargaining failed and the parties reached an impasse in negotiations, the employer had to act,” the state in its filing Monday. “It was that, or be forced to lay off hundreds of employees at the Department of Education. The employer chose to save those jobs.”
This was another statement taken directly from the state’s filing. It is not known yet whether the 700 jobs at risk would all be teaching positions or not.