Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he was surprised and confused to find out Thursday the leadership of the Hawaii State Teacher's Union had decided to approve a second ratification vote on a contract already soundly rejected by two-thirds of Hawaii's teachers.
"As for the new proposal, they have another proposal on the table, and there is one in front of the labor board, and that hasn't ended, so you'll have to ask them what's up on what they're doing because what they are doing is not clear to me," he said.
HSTA President Wil Okabe sent a letter to the governor saying the union made a mistake by rushing that first ratification vote on Jan. 19.
He said teachers "lacked the information and time to consider the agreement."
The governor responded on Thursday saying, according to the attorney general, that the rejected contract has "no legal standing."
Abercrombie said he has yet to talk to Okabe as to why union leadership approved a second ratification vote, but Abercrombie says that it's the teachers with whom the union will also have to answer to.
"We weren't consulted, we didn't participate, and I was notified along with everybody else. Only the union members can explain it to its membership," said Abercrombie.
By Thursday night, HSTA's Facebook page was on fire, receiving more than 200 responses -- the vast majority -- angry with the union.
"Hey Wil, can I get my union dues back? What's the point of having a union if they don't know how to negotiate?" Matthew Calica wrote.
Calvin Paleka added, "HSTA. H-awaii S-crewing T-eachers A-gain. But teachers are expected to just pass it now? What in the world is the union thinking?"