Blogs > Cliopatria > Hawai'i Strike Update: If you must lose....

Apr 9, 2004 8:54 am


Hawai'i Strike Update: If you must lose....



If you must lose, lose big. The Tentative Agreement (TA) is no longer quite as tentative. The results of the ratification vote were a nearly complete repudiation of every anti-ratification argument I or anyone else attempted. The final tally [PDF] was 82% to 17.6% in favor, with 65% of the eligible membership voting. That means that over 53% of the union membership -- not the voters, but the membership -- voted in favor of ratifying the agreement.

In an odd way, the margin of defeat is comforting. Yeah, it's very troubling that so few of my colleagues agreed with me. But the vote is unambiguously strong, and now the legislature and governor have a clear choice: follow through or face a lot of very unhappy educators.

Oh, well. I posted a conciliatory note to our campus e-list after the vote was announced and got some very nice responses. One praised my"brave advocacy", to which I replied, if I had known just how outnumbered I was, I might not have been so brave. I probably would have said most of what I said anyway, at least I like to think so. But it feels a little lonely, having fought so hard and yelled so loud, to lose so badly. On the other hand, it wasn't even close, so I don't have to second-guess myself: nothing I could have done, reasonably, was going to close that gap.

The state legislature still has to fund the agreement, and there's still some rumblings about that, but with such an overwhelming vote I think they'll fund it. For now. When the bill for the 9% and 11% raises comes due in three years, I'm quite sure we're looking at trouble. I won't mind being wrong: there are times when being right just isn't that much fun. I'd love to be here with a salary 35% higher than it is now in five years. I just don't like my odds, and I don't like what the structure of the agreement is going to do to the university in the process. Now we get to find out if I'm right.


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