For immediate release: May 5, 2016
Press release by:
Councilmember Riki Hokama, Chair
Budget and Finance Committee
Ocean safety bargaining unit agreement back on committee agenda
WAILUKU, Hawaii – Approval of cost items for employees included in the new Hawaii Government Employees Association Bargaining Unit 14 will again be considered in the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 11 at 9 a.m. in the Council Chamber, Committee Chair Riki Hokama announced today.
An arbitration decision was reached in February for the new unit, which covers a two-year contract for ocean safety officers.
On Maui County, approximately 50 ocean safety officers will be affected.
The contract includes a 17 percent increase in wages because of the employees’ reallocation to a new bargaining unit, which includes a new salary schedule, continuation of their step movement plan, automatic increases in fringe benefit costs and four percent increases across the board.
In a resolution submitted to the committee, the total projected impact of the contract for fiscal year 2017 is upwards of $1.05 million. The resolution also states the “arbitration decision and award shall be final and binding upon all parties” but “implementation shall be subject to appropriation by the appropriate legislative body.”
“Ocean safety officers are instrumental in ensuring the protection of our residents and visitors, and there is no doubt our employees deserve proper compensation for the service they provide,” Hokama said. “County council officials, who are tasked to find monies to fund salary increases in such agreements, have no say at all on what appears to be a ‘done-deal’ matter.
“The process is frustrating.”
The committee at an earlier meeting in March noted all Hawaii county councils must approve the proposed Bargaining Unit 14 cost items. Otherwise, all parties involved will come back to the negotiating table. The county Personnel Services director said this was an opinion from the state’s attorney general.
The fiscal year 2017 budget recommended by the committee includes an appropriation to fund the agreement.
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