A Brief History of Collective Bargaining in Hawai‘i

Article XII, Section 2, of the Hawai‘i State Constitution in 1950 provided that persons in public employment have the right to organize and to present and make known their grievances and proposals to the State, or any political subdivision or any department or agency.

The State Constitutional Convention of 1968 amended Section 2 of Article XII and the people of Hawai‘i adopted the amendment during the November 1968 elections to provide that persons in public employment shall have the right to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining as prescribed by law.

The State Constitutional Convention of 1978 amended and renumbered several sections and articles of the State Constitution.  Thus, Article XII of the Hawaii State Constitution was renumbered to Article XIII, with no other changes.

The phrase “as prescribed by law” was a mandate to the Legislature to implement collective bargaining for public employees.

Acting under this mandate, the Legislature studied and reviewed numerous public employee bargaining bills during the 1969 and 1970 sessions.  The 1970 Legislature passed Senate Bill 1696-70, as amended, or the Hawai‘i Public Employment Collective Bargaining Law, Chapter 89, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes to effectuate the constitutional purpose.

To view Chapter 89, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, click here.

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