STATE OF THE UNION
BUSINESS MANAGER'S MESSAGE
IBEW'S MISSION - ORGANIZE!
This year’s Theme continues with the messaging from our International Convention that was held in St. Louis, MI., "Building our Future through Organizing". We are calling out on everyone to help Organize the unorganized.
For us it started with our Shop Steward’s Training we held in late February. Tracy Prezeau, who works for the International Union's Education Department assigned to the 9th District, kicked off the seminar with an education on how to reach out to our own members and how to get them involved. She also went over economics in our times. Dr. William Puette followed with the history on how Unions in Hawaii came about and in particular, Local 1186.
Next, we went over Contracts and new laws that have changed, and how to handle grievances with our own John “Royal” Carroll. We then broke out into four groups in which our Union represents, and went over contract and grievance type issues with the respective Union Representatives. We ended the Conference with a Motivational Husband-and-Wife team giving us an interesting view of how communication has change from the 1960’s until now.
THE FUTURE OF RAIL
This year Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) is having to report to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on a Recovery Plan by the end of April 2017. In the balance is the challenge of getting a State GET tax extension with the current 90/10 City-State split which now ends in 2027. The State Senate passed SB1183 which gives HART the full 100% collection of the 0.5% tax but no extension of the 2027 date. This Bill crossed over to the House where the House Transportation Committee Chair Henry Aquino then passed it with no sunset date and leaving the split amount open. The Bill went on to the House Finance Committee led by Chair Sylvia Luke. The Finance committee passed the bill with amendments as follows...a two-year extension to 2029; a 99/1 split; not being able to use the GET money to pay for administration costs; and the City needs to lift their restriction on using County funds for funding rail by end of 2017. SB1183 will now go into Conference Committee between the House and Senate where they will decide its fate. Failing to pass a Bill to cover the full cost of construction and interest will result in not being able to build the full 20 miles and 21 stations from Kapolei to Ala Moana. We would have to pay back what we have used of the $1.55 billion that was given to HART for this project as a breach of contract with the FTA.
Members, please seek out your legislators and ask for their cooperation in making our Rail System whole as it was voted on in the past. What was also voted on, was an elevated rail system, and not at-grade. Any deviation now will result in more delays to the project and continued higher costs.
Work continues in Kaka’ako with the condominiums and at Ala Moana Center’s Park Lane. Sheraton Waikiki continues with renovations and prepping for the Princess Kaiulani design and construction. Thanks goes out to Kyo-ya’s Victor Kimura who is a big advocator of Labor Unions and our skilled Journeymen. DR Horton – Schuler Hawaii’s Ho’opili subdivision has started infrastructure work and soon Castle and Cooke’s Koa Ridge will be on its way as well. PV farms also have either finished or are wrapping up in Waianae.
Verizon Federal and Oceanic Maui contracts are up this year. Talks amongst our members have started on what the wants are and what to potentially expect.
Negotiations for the Oceanic members in Kona continue with Charter Communications (Spectrum) very slowly. Many of you have seen or heard that our sister Local in New York has gone on “Strike” because they have been trying to work out a contract for the last four years. Let’s hope that this isn’t the outcome here in Hawaii.
Thanks to all of the "Walkers" that came out to the Step Out to Walk for Diabetes that was held at Kapiolani Park. It was great to see members with their families join our dedicated retirees and staff at this event. Coming up are our Union Picnics on all of the Islands this Summer.
In honor of the recent Labor Day holiday, The Hawaii Electricians is offering this quick study of how unions help workers with a voice on the job:
What is a Union?
How do people form a union?
What kinds of workers are forming unions today?
How do unions help working families today?
What have unions accomplished for all workers?
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