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Thursday, June 25, 2009
June 25, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:13 AM :: 9410 Views

PBN Business Pulse: Duke Aiona preferred 2-1 over nearest challenger


UPW files complaint with labor board against governor, mayor

The United Public Workers yesterday filed a complaint against Gov. Linda Lingle and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann with the Hawai'i Labor Relations Board, seeking to prevent them from talking publicly about potential layoffs and contract negotiations....

The UPW, which represents blue-collar government workers, argues in its complaint that the obligation to bargain in good faith requires that the parties not negotiate in public. The union said it believes the governor, the state labor negotiator and the mayor should not make public statements about contract talks or issue news media releases on the content of negotiations without mutual consent. The union also argues that the state or county should not threaten layoffs.

(In other words, the union bosses are having a hard time controlling their membership.)

The HGEA motions assert that Lingle does not have the legal authority to unilaterally order furloughs and, even if she did, procedures for implementing the furloughs are subject to negotiation with the union.

Furlough-related questions subject to negotiation, the union said, should include:

  • Which employees may be furloughed;
  • Necessary advance notice of furloughs;
  • Re-calculation of benefits, including vacation and sick leave, because of furloughs;
  • Use of earned vacation to obtain compensation on furlough days;
  • Whether work units furlough everyone on the same day or spread them out;
  • Which work days would be scheduled for furloughs.

    Similarly, HGEA attorney James E.T. Koshiba argued, if the governor resorts to mass layoffs instead of furloughs, she still must follow established procedures including a "requirement that the employer provide 90 days advance notice of any layoffs."

    read more

    A Victory for Hawaiians: OHA may lay off up to 24 workers

    OHA is the only state agency talking about layoffs as opposed to furloughs.

    Namu'o said while OHA trustees were consulted, the decision was his alone. "I decided not to participate in the furlough program because I believe that our ability to serve strangle Native Hawaiian beneficiaries would be adversely impacted if OHA, for example, were to close its doors three days a month."

    OHA's investment portfolio has shrunk dramatically during the recent financial downturn. From Dec. 31, 2007, to Oct. 21, 2008, for instance, the value of the Native Hawaiian OHA Crony Trust Fund shrank from $444.3 million to $320.4 million, a 27.9 percent decline.  (so sad)

    read more

    UHERO: Hawaii Job Losses Will Be Larger Than Originally Forecast

    Job losses over the next two years will be somewhat larger than previously forecast, dropping 2.9% this year and 0.6% in 2010. Construction and tourism-related sectors will see the biggest losses.  (Yes, but did they factor in the job growth caused by the layoffs at OHA?)

    read more

    Advertiser: School board must act soon on fiscal plan

    The sound of this particular ticking clock seems deafening: Time is running out for public schools to prepare for the coming academic year, and authorities haven't approved a spending plan yet.

    There are complex reasons for this, but none of them makes planning a school year any easier for the administrators and staff who need things in order for the teachers' first day of work July 28 and the official start of classes two days later.

    On Monday, the Board of Education's budget committee ended its executive session without a decision on the spending plan for cutting $226 million over the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

    (And so the editors have to tell the BoE that they actually have to do their job.  Maybe the BoE will all resign in protest.  That would be even better news than the OHA layoffs.)  

    read more

    Matson, Unions Face Looming Strike Deadline

    The union representing sailors on Matson Navigation Co. ships said its members may walk off the job if a new agreement is not reached Thursday night.

    The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots represents workers in Honolulu and along the West Coast. Union officials said members authorized a strike.

    The company's contract expired on June 15 and was extended 10 days. The extension runs out Thursday at 9 p.m. Hawaii time.

    Advertiser: Matson, unions work to reach agreement on contract

    read more


    Superferry urged not to abandon 2 vessels


    We ran you out of our state and now we are going to take your boats.

    read more

    Time share company’s fate unclear

    ...officials of the parent company, ASNY in Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they would file for bankruptcy. A company principal, Ken Chupinsky, also told the Review-Journal that its time shares would continue operating under bankruptcy protection.

    However, a letter sent to vendors on Maui said that "Consolidated Resorts Inc. and Lahaina Ticket Co. will cease all operations in the state of Hawaii."

    A notice from Carl Hardin, chief operating officer of Consolidated, said the total number of employees affected "may be 795."  Consolidated's Web site listed seven time-share resorts on Maui, concentrated around Kahana.

    read more

    Trial Set For Man Accused Of Throwing Child From Bridge

    The defense attorney for a man accused of killing a toddler by throwing him from a freeway overpass agreed that his client is fit for trial on Wednesday. Higa is accused of throwing Cyrus Belt from a pedestrian bridge over the H-1 Freeway in January 2008. Belt was just shy of 2 years old at the time of his death.

    Adv: Alleged child killer fit for trial

    read more

    County gets high marks in fiscal audit

    Hawaii County government gets high marks for its financial controls over more than $34.6 million in federal funds, according to its most recent outside audit.
    The audit, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, was completed in late May by major accounting firm KPMG and submitted to Mayor Billy Kenoi last week.
    Auditors found absolutely nothing to criticize in the audit, saying the county had no material weaknesses or noncompliance and no significant deficiencies in internal controls, according to the 21-page report.

    (That's OK, the Greens will find something to complain about anyway now that they have been cut out of the action in the council reorganization.) 

    read more

    Two county split

    With Kona council members cut out of the action, the greens are immediately back in the media demanding county split.  How dull. 

    read more

    Onishi explains Council split

    Onishi said one member broke with the council's long tradition of shaking the hand of volunteers upon confirming them to a county board.  He said in this case -- Onishi didn't go into specifics or provide names -- one member voted against the confirmation "and that person walked out."  (The horror!)

    One member took credit for examining Mayor Billy Kenoi's budget proposal "line by line" when all four members should have received that recognition, Onishi said.  (Nooooo! Say it isn't so!)

    read more

    Hamakua councilman wants 22 percent raise rolled back

    HILO -- Saying a 22 percent raise "flies in the face of reason and common sense" during tough economic times, a Hawaii County councilman wants the County Salary Commission to roll back council pay hikes that went into effect last year.
    Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong is sponsoring a resolution on the July 7 Finance Committee agenda that asks the Salary Commission to revert council pay back to the 2008 level.

    read more

    Puna's CDP is stalled

    Although able to choose among 18 ranked candidates and 18 others, Kenoi submitted only six names to the County Council for confirmation in May. Two of the six have since moved to the mainland, making them ineligible....One of the top nine nominees not chosen by Kenoi is Kale Gumapac, spokesman for the roughly 50-member (anti-Big Box) Kanaka Council.

    (Kenoi is seeking people who are not enviro-wackos.  This is why it is taking so long.) 

    read more

    North Korea vows nuclear attack if provoked by U.S.

    SEOUL, South Korea — (Ordered to) Punching their fists into the air and shouting "Let's crush them!" some 100,000 North Koreans (were ordered to) packed Pyongyang's main square today for an anti-U.S. rally as the communist regime promised a "fire shower of nuclear retaliation" for any American-led attack.

    (The podium was a target rich environment.)

    read more

    Greenwell: Give us the Gitmo guys

    Hawaii County councilman Greenwell recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the Hawaii-born commander-in-chief to consider sending prisoners to be released from the prison at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay to the Big Island. The idea isn't to incarcerate the prisoners here, the councilman said, but to release them and begin a process of healing and forgiveness.  (This is the second public call in a week to move GTMO detainees to Hawaii.)

    read more

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