Okabe: Hired Attorney Has 'Long Anti-Union History'

The Hawaii State Teachers Association wants to cover all its bases in the conflict over a state-imposed contract.

Two announcements on Wednesday seemed to be at odds with one another: The union announced that, despite a pending labor complaint against the state, HSTA leaders have asked Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his negotiators to return to bargaining.

A few hours later, HSTA President [Wil Okabe] issued a statement critiquing the "anti-union" record of the attorney hired to represent the state in the pending labor dispute.

Robert Katz, Okabe wrote, "has a long anti-union history" and is "one of Hawaii's preeminent anti-union lawyers." Katz received a $50,000 no-bid contract from the state's Attorney General to help handle its case against the teachers union.

The hire is an interesting statement from a Democratic governor, the union president observes, who has long been closely associated with labor groups.

Read Okabe's full statement below:

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