Honestly, I'm not really sure how to feel. I'm proud to be Hawaiian, proud to be a citizen of the state of Hawai'i, proud to be employed by the state, and I love our Governor, Neil Abercrombie. I do believe we all have to do our part to get things back to right as far as the deficit goes BUT, and here's where the warm-and-fuzzies get a little cold; as of today, I am officially at 120% of the Hawai'i State Poverty level and I am an educated (two BAs), white collar, full time employee of the Department of Education.
Two years ago state employees were hit with furloughs that equaled 8-10% pay cuts. Our then governor Linda Lingle furloughed ALL state employees - including teachers - which closed schools two days a month so EVERYONE in the state felt the effects of the furloughs (Hawai'i was quite famous for that for a while, unfortunately). When Neil Abercrombie came in to office he vowed he would not balance the budget on the backs of children and stopped "Furlough Fridays" for public schools. The contract he negotiated with my union (HGEA), in a nutshell, puts my salary at the 2009 schedule then drops 5% from there, increases my medical premium contribution to 50% from 40%), allows for no step movements (raises), and this will continue until July 1, 2013. That totals 4 years of salary cuts for public employees without cutting services to the public.
Again, I know the economic crisis is huge for the state and the nation. I know we all have to help put things to right. I just can't help but feel kicked in the teeth - again.
Abercrombie announces contract agreement
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