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Hawaii’s UPW 10 Received More Than Expected in Contract Arbitration

Tuesday, January, 15, 2013

Hawaii’s Union of Public Workers (UPW) Unit 10 is nearing the close of its arbitration proceedings over salary negotiations—a step that many say is influential for future similar negotiations.  As many other collective bargaining entities in the State of Hawaii settled their wage and benefits negotiations through contracts, UPW 10 set a precedence in achieving an award in arbitration that was better than expected.  In fact, according to the state budget director, the state’s administration will have to request an emergency appropriation from the state legislature to fund the $8 million award. 

That arbitration award will retain their base pay that had been given in a dispute contract, in addition to a 3.2 percent increase beginning January 2013 through June 30, 2013.  According to state Budget & Finance Director, Kalbert Young, “They're getting more than what other unions have contributed, like HSTA, like HGEA, and I would actually add like the other units in UPW that have also taken a pay reduction and a reduction in the EUTF.”  

Unit 10 is comprised of approximately 160 Honolulu County paramedics, thousands of state corrections workers, as well as health and institutional workers.  Their insistence on arbitration has now influenced other unions within the state, such as the Hawaii State Teachers Association, to consider arbitration moving forward.  In its weekly bulletin, the Hawaii State Teachers Association printed the following statement: "Though this decision will not directly affect our ongoing legal action, it certainly raises basic issues of fairness and equity that must be considered by all parties as we move forward with negotiations for 2013-2015."

The state is now preparing to confront other unions seeking fairness in their compensation.  Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, "Whatever is set with the state, others will use as an argument, particularly if it's a good award. So we're just going to have to wait and see."