Union protests at opening of Maui's second Walgreens
By Brian Perry
Maui News City Editor
KAHULUI — Walgreens opened its second full-service store on Maui yesterday, but it came with a demonstration against the store by members of the Hawaii Carpenters Union.
Union members expressed their opposition to the store's use of contractors who didn't pay standard wages and benefits.
"We just wanted to raise public awareness that Walgreens is not paying area standard wages for carpenters and dry wallers on Maui," said Bill Kamai, Maui senior service representative for the Hawaii Carpenters Union.
More than 100 union members, family supporters and friends lined the curb and waved signs outside Walgreens, Kamai said. Such protests began at Walgreens' Kahului and Lahaina locations while construction was ongoing in October.
He pledged that such demonstrations would continue at both locations.
Contacted by phone yesterday, a Walgreens spokesman said he didn't have the details of construction bidding on the store in Kahului.
But "our approach is to use union contractors whenever their bids are competitive," said Michael Polzin, director of Walgreens corporation communications in Deerfield, Ill.
The new 14,820-square-foot store is on the site of the former Pizza Hut at the intersection of Puunene and Kamehameha avenues. It features a double-lane, drive-through pharmacy, which is Walgreens' first on Maui.
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