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Thursday, November 10, 2011
Just in Time for APEC: IBEW Strikes HawaiianTel
By News Release @ 6:42 PM :: 5512 Views :: Energy, Environment

Hawaiian Telcom Union Workers in Work Stoppage -- Company Activates Contingency Readiness Plans

News Release from HawaiianTel

HONOLULU, Nov 10, 2011 -- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 1357 (IBEW 1357), which represents over half of Hawaiian Telcom's employees, announced its decision to begin a work stoppage as of today, November 10, 2011. The Company presented its Last, Best and Final Offer for a new collective bargaining agreement to the union in early October, and following a vote by membership on the Offer, union leadership opted to strike.

Having anticipated this possibility, Hawaiian Telcom has activated readiness plans to minimize service disruptions during the work stoppage, but cautions that delays can be expected. "While we hope to return to normal operations soon, we sincerely apologize to our customers for any temporary inconvenience due to the union's action and ask for their patience and understanding during this period," said Scott Simon, Executive Director - Corporate Communications for Hawaiian Telcom.

Regarding Union Work Stoppage During APEC

With a proud history of dedicated service to the people and businesses of Hawaii for the past 128 years, Hawaiian Telcom regrets that union leadership of IBEW 1357 has elected to start a work stoppage on one of our State's proudest moments hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation events. Countless Hawaii residents are volunteering, sacrificing, and contributing toward showing that Hawaii is an ideal setting for high-level business gatherings and even international diplomatic meetings. It is unfortunate that the Union has begun its work stoppage at this time, when they could have waited and continued working through APEC without losing anything.

Hawaiian Telcom's contingency plans considered the special needs and focus required during the APEC conference. The plans we are now executing upon provide for essential functions normally performed by the Company's union-represented employees to be performed by reassigned management employees and non-union employees, along with outside contractors in key technical areas. For security reasons, we cannot disclose any greater detail, but we have planned and are prepared for this contingency.

Regarding the Company's Last, Best & Final Offer and Contingency Plans

"The Company made a good faith offer for a new agreement that fairly balances all parties' needs with the benefits provided by competitors and other employers, and the realities of competition in the communications business and a challenging economy," Simon added. "Our Last, Best and Final 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:

-- Union employees have been paying nothing toward full healthcare coverage for themselves and dependents. The Company's offer would have employees contribute 10 percent to healthcare premiums for employee and dependent coverage;

-- Employees have been able to take up to six months fully paid sick leave each year. The Company's offer provides up to 8 weeks fully-paid sick leave annually, plus adds company-paid long-term disability and long-term care insurance;

-- Union employees have been 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; and

-- One percent compounded wage increases and an annual $500 ratification bonus for three years.

Under the Company's contingency plans, most of its management and non-union employees have been trained for temporary reassignment to other job functions. The Company also secured local and mainland contractors on stand-by to assist during a work stoppage.

Customers may be impacted by the union's work stoppage in the following ways:

-- Repair work will be prioritized to first address needs of critical facilities such as hospitals, police, fire, etc.;

-- Other field work and service issues will be prioritized based on available resources and therefore some delays should be expected; and

-- Wait times when calling the Company may be longer.

About 700 employees out of the Company's workforce of approximately 1,300 are IBEW members.

Customers with billing, service or other questions can find assistance at hawaiiantel.com. Hawaiian Telcom will notify customers through the news media when the work stoppage period is over.

---30---

LINK: IBEW1357 (IBEW Rally Nov 11 4-6PM at 1177 Bishop St)

IBEW vs “COMPANY PROPAGANDA”

* What the company is not telling you about your Pension and 401k.

* What the company is not telling you about standby and callouts.

* What the company is not telling you about your medical and dental.

* What the company is not telling you about Article 15, vacation banking,bumping rights/rif, new jobs/job consolidation, education/life long learning, eliminating coop efforts, Kauai Line and Cable MOA and the company's stability.

SA: Telephone Workers on Strike

CBS: Hundreds of Hawaiian TelCom Workers on Strike

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