The Governor has failed to negotiate in good faith refusing to accept contract offers and solutions presented by every public sector union. The response is a consistent “No” with a threat to face either furloughs or job loss for a failure to accept the draconian approach the Governor demands. Her position means that 20% of Hawaii’s public employees cover 92% of the deficit. The Governor needs to return to the bargaining table with an attitude adjustment prepared to seriously consider alternatives offered by the unions.
The Legislature has taken the first step to address state employee concerns by adopting a balanced budget that did not require furloughs or layoffs of state employees.
Now the Legislature needs to take further steps to address the state’s deficit by returning in special session designed to tackle revenue issues. These include using moneys from the rainy-day and hurricane relief funds. Other options could be temporary increases in the general excise or income tax.
All four unions, UHPA, HSTA, HGEA, and UPW, continue to work together to seek negotiated settlements for each respective contract using a variety of options from court challenges to prohibited practice charges with the Hawaii Labor Board. All unions believe that the best outcomes are brought about by a negotiated settlement not the unilateral actions of Governor Lingle.