HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the union, two-hundred and seventeen members of Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996 at Hawaii Gas are on the picket line across the state, Thursday, June 1.
This comes after the union said the company refused to meet at the table since May 11. According to the union, it received an offer Wednesday, May 31; but it was not fair and reasonable to its members.
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“At this stage, right now, a lot of our members and the cost of Hawaii we’re being cost out of paradise which causes a lot of strain on our families and our homes here just to survive,” said Kevin Holu, Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996 President. “Basically we’re just asking for a fair chance.”
Hawaii Gas said it’s been negotiating a new contract with the union for the last five weeks, and it remains hopeful it can reach a compromise. Hawaii Gas said it has made efforts to move negotiations forward including offering to have a mediator. According to the company, the union’s current wage demand on the table is a 28.5 percent increase over a three year contract. That’s down from the union’s initial demand at 30 percent.
Employees on strike come from various departments including the company’s call center, dispatchers, corrosion control and linemen.
“We’ve been preparing everybody like this might be a long fight; and, so, we’re all prepared,” said Ka’ai Conradt, Hawaii Gas corrosion technician.
Hawaii Gas said it does have contingency plans in place, but some business KHON2 spoke with said they’re concerned about potential impacts from the strike.
“I don’t have any electric ovens or any backups; so, all of my fryers, our malasada fryers, are literally, like, natural gas appliances,” said Gayla Young, Pipeline Bakeshop and Creamery owner. “So, for us, if we don’t have gas, we won’t be able to produce any products.”
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Hawaii Gas offices and facilities continue to operate. However, the company said, some services might be impacted including:
- New appliance installations
- Non-emergency appliance repairs and adjustments
- Energy-efficiency audits of appliances
- In-person bill payments at Hawaii Gas offices
- Meter readings will be estimated and subsequently adjusted
Hawaii Gas hopes to find a resolution when negotiations resume shortly.