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State reaches agreement with HGEA

MEDIA RELEASE

The State of Hawaii and counties have concluded a contract agreement with the Hawaii Government Employees Association, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Wednesday.

Over the next two years, the agreement will save the state about $65 million for fiscal year 2012 and $59 million for fiscal year 2013.

Details of the two-year contract from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 include:

* An equal contribution (50/50) for public workers’ health benefits between public employees and the State and county governments

* A 5 percent reduction in base pay for public employees without furlough days or layoffs

“Since the beginning of our administration, we have talked about shared sacrifice as the pathway to changing Hawaii,” Abercrombie said. “Today, the Hawaii Government Employees Association stepped forward to do their part by making a sacrifice to help all people of Hawaii. In these worst of fiscal times, a new era of teamwork and hope has begun.”

The agreement ends the two-day-a-month furloughs in the current contract that resulted in a 10 percent decrease in base pay and shut down of services for the public. Also under the current contract, the State and counties provide 60 percent of health benefits for public employees.

“We have reached an agreement that puts an end to Furlough Fridays and provides our citizens with the services that they expect,” Abercrombie said. “The provisions we agreed to will save millions of taxpayer dollars and help maintain vital services to help us emerge from these difficult economic times. The state’s largest public sector union and the State of Hawaii are uniting to put the people of Hawaii first.”

The agreement will require a ratification vote by HGEA members.

“We approached bargaining differently,” Abercrombie said. “We put the state’s challenges in front of us and worked collaboratively to come up with a solution that recognizes the value of public employees and serves the public good.”

This is the first public labor union agreement with the State and counties this year. Contracts for the United Public Workers, Hawaii State Teachers Association, State of Hawaii Police Officers Union and Hawaii Fire Fighters Association are under discussion.

“Public employees are our neighbors. They are family members and taxpayers,” Abercrombie said. “Though we are facing difficult times, Hawaii can pull through this fiscal crisis if we all do our part and work together.”

Statement from HGEA

Over the past few months, HGEA negotiating teams, which are composed of rank-and-file bargaining unit members, have been working on behalf of their fellow members in an effort to reach a voluntary contract settlement with the employers.

There is a tentative agreement on the parameters of the contract, but details are still being finalized with the employers.

HGEA will not comment publicly on the details of the agreement, as the union intends to first notify its membership and allow members to make an informed decision prior to ratification voting.

— Find out more:
www.hgea.org

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