HONOLULU (KHON2) — The right to strike is something that has not always been guaranteed. When the socialist movements began in the 1800s, large corporations did everything in their power to ensure that workers did not come to believe that they have rights.

On Wednesday, May 31, Teamsters Local 996 decided to strike.

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“Hawaiʻi Gas has been negotiating a new contract with Teamsters Local 996 for the past five weeks, and we remain hopeful we can reach a compromise,” expressed a representative for Hawaiʻi Gas. “We sent an updated offer on May 30 and are awaiting response. We are focused on offering a competitive wage and benefits package to attract and retain our skilled workforce.”

Hawaiʻi Gas also said that the made plans to ensure potential work stoppage will not disrupt the customers’ usage of water.

“If we do reach an impasse, we are open to mediation and keeping an open dialogue to find a solution that works for all,” added Hawaiʻi Gas.

The Hawaiʻi Teamsters & Allied Workers Local 996 released this statement:

“We the members of the Hawaiʻi Teamsters & Allied Workers Local 996 with heavy hearts sadly announce that since management from Hawaiʻi Gas Company refuses to negotiate in good faith bargaining regarding changes in medical benefits, retirement benefits and living wages. We have no other recourse than to begin our strike at 12:0.1 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023. We will remain on strike until an agreement is reached.

“This has been long coming as we have made concessions in the past to help the company and merely want what we deserve. As difficult as a strike is for everyone, we cannot let corporate greed become the new normal in an already hard-to-survive economy. Unfortunately, as it stands, the expense falls on the employees and at a cost that severely lessens their current earnings.

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“Our ask is reasonable, and we hope to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible. It is important that we show a united front on this issue; we know that it will affect many in our communities throughout the State of Hawaiʻi but ask for your support as an injury to one is an injury to all.”

“Mahalo and God Bless!”