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Schools Committee: Issues Raised by Strike (Karla Telfer)
Schools Committee: Issues Raised by Strike
Where has the Schools Committee been during the strike? We have been struggling with disrupted schedules and growing frustrations just as has everyone else with children in Hawaii's public schools.
There are many issues related to the strike. Essential services have not been provide which could open the schools. This has become a test of the law. An extension of the concept of the right of public workers to strike might be the right of public workers to refrain from supplying essential services if that act breaks the strength of the strike. Do public workers have the right to refuse to supply essential services?
Another issue that especially effects parents is that in Hawaii students are not guaranteed during a strike a specified number of days of schooling. Teachers, by contract, must work 175 days this year, but that does not mean they must be teaching pupils. Regulation 4160 does guarantee that 1800 instructional minutes (30 hours) per week will be offered to students, but this provision does not apply during a strike. The question, then, is does the public have any right to a guarantee of 175 days of school for Hawaii's children?
There are other issues that will probably not be addressed, but which seem worth thinking about: Does the public supplying essential services constitute strike breaking? \Must all schools be opened, or can some be opened while others remain closed? What is the appropriate role of students during a strike? Where is the line between support for a strike and vandalism? Does the fact that other public employee bargaining units have not ratified their contracts put unnecessary pressure on UPW negotiations? (HSTA and HGEA had reached negotiated settlements, but these were not ratified until several weeks into the UPW strike.)
Has the unionization of principals affected the strike? Traditionally, management has not been unionized; but in Hawaii's public schools, principals are union members. In a strike situation, where does a principal stand - supporting the unions or supporting the state?
Hopefully the strike will be settled by the time you are reading this article.
|November, 1979||Top Home Newsletters||January, 1980|