On August 28, 2013, the HAWSCT accepted cert in Haw. State Teachers Ass’n v. Univ. Laboratory Sch., SCWC-12-0000295, on the issue of whether the HSTA was entitled to compel arbitration during the pendency of a Hawaii Labor Relations Board proceeding.
At the administrative level, HLRB denied HSTA’s motion to dismiss on claims that HSTA had engaged in a prohibited bargaining practice by attempting to unilaterally insert unbargained for contract terms and by filing an illegal grievance. While the HLRB proceedings were still pending, HSTA filed a motion to compel arbitration with the circuit court. The circuit court denied the motion on the basis that it was premature due to the still-pending HRLB proceedings.
On appeal to the ICA, the court held that both an agreement between the parties and a supplemental agreement provided for arbitration. However, because the validity of the supplemental agreement was at-issue in the HLRB proceedings, the court agreed that compelling arbitration was premature. According to the ICA, “compelling arbitration likely would have produced conflicting or redundant judgments and wasted effort and expense.” Slip. Op. at 7.
On cert, HSTA argues that the ICA erred in (1) because the issue before the circuit court was one of “meeting of the minds,” and not “the fashioning of an agreement”; (2) the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; (3) failing to conclude that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction because there was no “claim” before the court.
The HAWSCT’s order accepting cert is available here.
The ICA’s Opinion (Judges Foley, Fujise, and Reifurth) is available here.
HSTA’s cert application is available here. ULS did not file a response.