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Thursday, April 14, 2011
HGEA Negotiators: Hide furlough days, recoup losses after Legislature adjourns
By Andrew Walden @ 9:04 PM :: 8564 Views :: Energy, Environment

 

by Andrew Walden

An internal HGEA memo sent to the membership earlier this week ties the HGEA’s tentative settlement to the Legislative agenda and promises that HGEA will enjoy “equity with other unions” who will likely settle their contracts after the Legislative session is over.  

Signed by the members of the HGEA negotiating team, the memo lays out the plain political calculations:

 Three factors weighed heavily in our decision to accept the tentative settlement. First, given the serious budget deficit facing the legislature, leaving the contract unsettled gives greater latitude for additional program cuts. Second, we cannot expect a better outcome in arbitration given the poor economic condition of the state and other jurisdictions. Third, the “favored nation” clause provides assurance that there will be equity with other unions currently negotiating with the employer.

In other words, if the HGEA appears reasonable now, the Legislature is less likely to cut programs employing HGEA members – leaving tax increases as the more likely budget solution.

But the HGEA won’t have to suffer for long.  Once the Legislature adjourns, the HSTA or UPW negotiations can wipe away the 5% pay cut, or win a full eight hours of paid monthly leave time to precisely match the 5% pay cut. 

This would be the same as a furlough day and the HGEA makes no bones about Abercrombie’s calculations designed to deceive the public about his continuing furlough policy:

The employer’s position was inflexible on increasing the four (4) hours leave time to eight (8) hours per month. The Governor viewed the granting of one day off to be the equivalent of a furlough day which he is on record as opposing. Despite repeated assurances that a day off was not the same as a furlough day because operations would not be shut down, the employer refused to increase the 4 hours time off to one day per month….

After further negotiations, the employer increased their offer of 4 hours leave to 6 hours leave per month, or 9 days of leave per year. At that point, all negotiating teams voted to bring the offer to the members.

It is clear from this memo that the union members preferred Lingle’s furlough days with no pay cut to Abercrombie’s pay cut with half a furlough day per month.   They fought hard over how much “administrative leave” – furlough—time would be given per month.  In the end, they settled for 3/4 of a furlough day per month knowing that this would influence the Legislature at a critical moment and also knowing that the issue will be revisited if the UPW or HSTA gets a better deal—after the legislature adjourns. 

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RELATED:

 

Here is the HGEA memo in full:

Letter from your negotiating team; summary of tentative agreement; ratification meeting schedule

A summary of the tentative agreement and ratification meeting schedules are available online. Please login to the Contract Negotiations 2011-2013 page on the HGEA website to download these documents. (These documents are also being distributed at the worksites.)

=======

Dear HGEA Bargaining Unit Member:

Please review a summary of the tentative agreement, which you have the opportunity to vote on, as well as a list of the ratification meeting sites where you can vote in favor or against the contract settlement. (Click here to view the summary and the ratification meeting schedules.)

As your negotiating team representatives, we want to share the reasons we chose to tentatively accept the terms of this settlement and take it to you, the member, for ratification.

Earlier this year, the employer made public statements regarding a five percent (5%) cut in pay. Your negotiating teams were in strong agreement that a straight 5% pay cut was unacceptable and this was relayed to the employer.

On March 18, the employer transmitted a formal settlement offer of 5% wage cut with four (4) hours of administrative time off per month, fifty percent (50%) split in health premium payments and a “favored nation” clause. We wanted at least one day off per month for the 5% pay cut, and a 60/40% split in premiums.

The employer’s position was inflexible on increasing the four (4) hours leave time to eight (8) hours per month. The Governor viewed the granting of one day off to be the equivalent of a furlough day which he is on record as opposing. Despite repeated assurances that a day off was not the same as a furlough day because operations would not be shut down, the employer refused to increase the 4 hours time off to one day per month.

The employer was also unwilling to increase their share of the proposed 50/50% split in health premiums, mainly because of the state’s dire budget shortfall. While we attempted to persuade the employer on this significant issue, the exclusion of health premiums from arbitration renders any negotiations on this subject moot.

Three factors weighed heavily in our decision to accept the tentative settlement. First, given the serious budget deficit facing the legislature, leaving the contract unsettled gives greater latitude for additional program cuts. Second, we cannot expect a better outcome in arbitration given the poor economic condition of the state and other jurisdictions. Third, the “favored nation” clause provides assurance that there will be equity with other unions currently negotiating with the employer.

After further negotiations, the employer increased their offer of 4 hours leave to 6 hours leave per month, or 9 days of leave per year. At that point, all negotiating teams voted to bring the offer to the members.

We realize it is not easy to accept a cut in pay. However, your negotiating team members believe this is the best settlement that could be obtained under the circumstances.

We appreciate your support and strongly encourage you to go to one of the sites listed to cast your vote.

Sincerely,

 

UNIT 2 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Suanne Miyata, Chair

Carrick Agbayani

Steve Criss

Herring Kalua

Ken Morikawa

 

UNIT 3 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Jon Gasper, Chair

Garrett Agena

Sam Ah Yuen

Sheri Amimoto

Leonard Carman, Jr.

Scot Chang

Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto

Harry Gima

Stacie Hiwatashi

Kalani Mills

Cindy Phillips

Joy Ring

Wendy Sanico

Veronica Tarleton

Joseph Thomas, Jr.

Matthew Tinay

Susan Watanabe

Patrick Yuen, Sr.

 

UNIT 4 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Ronald Kapuniai, Chair

Priscilla Badua

Leticia Hedani

Connie Malo

Gay Okada

 

UNIT 6 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Francine Honda, Chair

Charles Kagawa

Fred Rose

Gwen Ueoka

Kelcy Koga

 

UNIT 9 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Elizabeth Asahara, Chair

Cashmire Lopez

Susie Uwekoolani

Janet Lee

Suzanne Kaulukukui

 

UNIT 13 NEGOTIATING TEAM:

Jo Ann Loa, Chair

Jeannette Abara

Wayne Akana

Joseph Bonin

Calvin Calkins

Emery Henderson

Dwight Ishiguro

Kathleen Kim

Mark King

James Morisato

Richard Onishi

Douglas Pyle

Jennie Whitlock

Darren Wong

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