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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UPW, Hawaii counties reach agreement on new contract

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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United Public Workers Unit 1 has reached agreement with the four county governments on a new collective-bargaining contract that would run through June 30, 2011.

Details of the agreement were not immediately available yesterday, and it still must signed off on by Gov. Linda Lingle and ratified by union members.

The state's other public worker unions agreed earlier to pay cuts and furloughs to help reduce the state's budget deficit.

UPW Unit 1 consists of about 9,000 mostly blue-collar government workers, including janitors and truck drivers.

UPW Unit 10, primarily composed of state prison, health care and emergency workers, reached an arbitrated settlement with the state in January that included a 5.45 percent pay cut for some workers and furloughs for others.

The Hawai'i Council of Mayors announced the agreement in a statement yesterday.

"We're grateful that the UPW recognized the need for shared sacrifices during a very difficult economic period and came to the table ready to collaborate on paring spending," the mayors council said in a statement. "The public is very dependent on the services provided by UPW members, and we believe this agreement will ensure we can continue to fulfill our obligations."

There are both state and city workers who are members of UPW Unit 1. Therefore, Lingle must also sign off on the agreement before it can go to the workers for a ratification vote.

Lingle, who was in Washington at a governors conference, said, "We are glad to see the mayors have decided to agree to our proposal, and that the UPW is now on board."

Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in his State of the City address last night, "We believe the state will find this to be a reasonable settlement that reflects the most recent position the governor communicated to us, and we're optimistic the employees will approve the terms."

Hannemann added that the mayors council helped bridge an impasse in talks with the union.

"In the area of collective bargaining, where mayors have traditionally taken a secondary role to the governor in leading the negotiations on behalf of the employers, the Hawai'i Council of Mayors stepped up to break a logjam in the talks with the United Public Workers," Hannemann said.