The Hawaii Supreme Court denied a petition by the Hawaii State Teachers Association Wednesday morning to force the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to prematurely issue a decision regarding the ongoing labor dispute about HSTA's current contract, according to the attorney general.
The labor board undertook long and involved hearings lasting over several months about this dispute, and is currently considering all of the facts and legal issues presented in this important and complex case.
The court's ruling confirms that the labor board's determination of when and how to issue a ruling in this case remains in its discretion.
According to the attorney general, HSTA has attempted several times to force the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to issue a decision during this complex labor dispute. All of those efforts were rejected.
Wednesday's ruling represents the second time the Hawaii Supreme Court has reminded the HSTA that the Hawaii Labor Relations Board must be given the opportunity to rule on the labor dispute without interference, as is its responsibility under the law.
The Supreme Court previously rejected the HSTA's request "in light of the extended duration of the evidentiary proceeding (10 months) and the voluminous record" related to HSTA's presentation of their case at the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.
"We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling today. The court has agreed with us that the HLRB is subject to the 'promptness' requirement under HRS 377-9(d), since the HLRB has consolidated a decision on both the motion for interlocutory relief and decision on the merits of the complaint,” said HSTA president Wil Okabe. "We now await a prompt decision from the HLRB, so that teachers can finally have the courts rule on the constitutional issues governing their rights to collective bargaining."