Gas shortage felt on Hawai‘i Island amid Teamsters strike

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Maile Wikum had never seen Genki Sushi in Kona Commons as busy as she did Wednesday night when she took her daughter out for dinner.

Employees told them the restaurant had no propane, so no fried food could be served. Wikum said she also tried eating at Ultimate Burger, Panda Express and Daiichi Ramen, but they all were closed.

The propane shortage in West Hawaiʻi is occurring amid an ongoing statewide strike at Hawai’i Gas. Since June 1, 217 members of Hawai’i Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996 at Hawai’is Gas are on picket lines to dispute their current contract, asking for better pay, medical costs and retirement benefits.

Members of Teamsters Local 996, located in Honolulu, told Hawai‘i News Now they plan to remain on strike until an agreement is reached.


“A lot of these gentlemen and women have put in multiple years, equivalent up to 20 to 30 years, and it feels that they rightfully deserve a fair wage of living,” Kevin Holu, president of the labor union, told the TV station.

Calls to Teamsters Local 996 were not immediately returned.

Hawai’i Gas said in a statement: “We are aware there are a small number of businesses affected on the Big Island and we are working to refill their tanks as soon possible. Hawai‘i Gas is working closely with individual businesses on a case-by-case basis to find immediate solutions.”


It wasn’t only restaurants that have run out of gas. On Saturday, Wikum said she went to Ace Hardware on Saturday and they also were out.

Hawaiʻi Gas officials say the company is doing everything it can to refill customer propane tanks statewide in a prompt manner, adding: “We are scheduled to meet with the union tomorrow and are encouraged to be back at the negotiating table.”

Hawai‘i Gas said it will need to utilize temporary resources to support its customers during the strike. These resources will not replace any local jobs but will ensure service delivery.


During this time, the company officials said fulfilling deliveries and responding to requests for service may be slightly delayed. This includes:

  • New installations
  • Non-emergency appliance repairs
  • Energy efficiency audits
  • In-person bill payments
  • Meter readings

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