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Sunday, October 30, 2011
Full Text: IBEW, Hawaiian Tel on Strike Vote
By News Release @ 4:07 PM :: 5034 Views :: Energy, Environment

Statement From IBEW:

IBEW Local Union 1357 members employed by Hawaiian Telcom have been working without a contract since Monday, October 24, 2011. The Company gave the Union its last, best and final offer on October 11, 2011, which reduces Sick Leave days by 30%, freezes the employees' Pension Plan, imposes increased medical and dental premiums on employees, along with other mandatory work provisions.

Under CEO Eric Yeaman, Hawaiian Telcom went into bankruptcy in 2008 and emerged in 2010, reducing Hawaiian Telcom's debt by over 850 million dollars. Over the last year and a-half, 4 Vice Presidents have left Yeaman's administration due to work performance issues. Yeaman issued 87 reduction-in-force notices in June 2011, while he off-shored the Company's operator services to Saipan. Yeaman has also contracted out most of his Senior Management Team and outsourced rank and file jobs, resulting in poor servicing of customers. Yet, in spite of his poor performance, Yeaman gave himself a 408% raise last year.

Yeaman claims that IBEW Local Union 1357 members' benefits are overly generous. IBEW is not asking for any increases; only that the Company recognize the years of hard work its employees have put into building the business and keep everything the same. IBEW offered Hawaiian Telcom over $5 million a year in cost savings; however, the Company balked at the offer.

We are in the process of conducting a ratification/strike vote. Ballots must be in the repository by October 28, 2011, and will be counted on October 31, 2011. Training for Local 1357 Leaders statewide will be held on Saturday, October 29th. Find out more on our website: IBEW1357.org.

Aloha,

Ted Furukado

President IBEW Local Union 1357

* * * * *

Statement from Hawaiian Telcom:

Hawaiian Telcom has been negotiating in good faith toward a new agreement with its union-represented employees. The company has made a last, best and final offer that balances all parties' needs with the realities of competition in the communications business and a challenging economy.

Hawaiian Telcom's offer demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that our employees continue to receive competitive pay and very favorable benefits. Key components of the company's offer include:

1 percent compounded wage increases and an annual $500 ratification bonus for three years;

Union employees are currently provided a pension and matching 401(k) of $0.82/dollar up to 6% of base salary. The company's last, best and final offer provides an enhanced 401(k) company dollar-for-dollar match up to 10 percent of base salary while freezing pension plan benefits at existing values;

Union employees currently pay nothing toward full healthcare coverage for themselves and dependents. The company's last, best and final offer would provide that employees contribute 10 percent to healthcare premiums for employee and dependent coverage; and

Employees currently may take up to 26 weeks fully paid sick leave each year. The company's offer provides up to 8 weeks fully-paid sick leave annually, with an additional up to 18 weeks of temporary disability paid at 58% of base wages, plus adds company-paid long-term disability and long-term care insurance.

Hawaiian Telcom respects the union voting process that is underway and cannot speculate on the likelihood of a work stoppage at this time. We have contingency plans and preparations in place, which is the prudent approach to ensuring that customers receive the service they expect under any circumstances.

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