Hawaii teachers protest at governor's residence

Published On: Mar 02 2013 03:30:00 PM HST

Public school teachers held a working protest Saturday on the steps of Governor Neil Abercrombie's residence.  The "Teach-in" was their response to lagging contract negotiations and recent quips the governor said a conference in Washington D.C.
"I'm just grading work for quarter three," said Kapolei Middle School teacher Shirley Yamauchi.  She said it's what she'd usually be doing on a weekend.  But today, she's grading papers on the sidewalk in front of Washington Place.
"It's my three-week vacation and I'm doing this for March 11 when the students come back," said Yamauchi.
She was joined by about 30 of her fellow teachers in what they've dubbed a "Teach-in."
"A lot of teachers wanted to be here today, but there's a science fair, there are workshops, teachers are getting kids ready for their AP exams next week. They're coaching sports.  All these things are unpaid for that teachers will do on Saturday," said Corey Rosenlee, a Campbell High School teacher and one of the organizers of the Teach-in. "We wanted people to see what we do and bring it out instead of just in the house."
Although you might not be able to tell, the teachers here were angry over four years of pay cuts and two imposed contracts.  And the recent remarks by Governor Abercrombie at the National Governors Meeting in Washington D.C.
"If push comes to shove, we will have to continue to impose the contract and take it up at that point," Abercrombie is quoted as saying at that meeting.
"If you look at what the contract will give us in 2015, we wouldn't be making as much money than we were in 2009.  People don't realize we've taken increases in health care costs and also in six years inflation has gone up. So what the governor is offering to us is basically nothing," said Rosenlee.
The governor on Friday said he respects the teachers opinion, but he said progress is being made through the collective bargaining process.
The teachers are planning a rally at the State Capitol on March 14.  They're expecting thousands of teachers to turn out for the event.


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