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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Union protests new Walgreens

By Brian Perry
Maui News

KAHULUI, Maui Walgreens opened its second full-service store on Maui Sunday, but it was accompanied by 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.

Michael Polzin, director of Walgreens corporation communications in Deerfield, Ill., said, "Our approach is to use union contractors whenever their bids are competitive."

The new, 14,820-square-foot store is on the site of the former Pizza Hut at the intersection of Pu'unēnē and Kamehameha avenues. It features a double-lane, drive-through pharmacy, which is Walgreens' first on Maui.