Teamsters strike continues with no agreement reached with Hawai‘i Gas
Today, Kona eateries were business as usual after receiving late propane deliveries that last week forced their closures.
The late propane deliveries were caused by union workers for Hawai‘i Gas being on strike. Those workers fro Teamsters Loca 996 now enter a second week on strike after no agreement was reached during contract negotiations over the weekend.
The statewide gas company met with union workers all day Friday through early Saturday morning to discuss wages, medical costs and retirement benefits. Over 200 union members have been picketing throughout the state since June 1.
Businesses throughout West Hawai‘i have been impacted by the strike with many of the restaurants in the Kona Commons shopping center closed because they had no propane. At Costco’s food court, only hot dogs were available. Denny’s was also closed because of the delayed propane delivery.
Hawai‘i Gas said picketers blocked trucks from leaving the Hilo base yard on Thursday, forcing the drivers to wait for more than hour to leave the facility. Hawai‘i Gas officials say: “We respect the union’s right to picket, but we implore the union to stop this tactic of blocking the trucks and allow our customers to receive their gas deliveries.”
Union president Kevin Holu said reports of a blockade are untrue as the yard has a second gate that could be used to exit the property to fulfill daily operations. He said: “They employer attempted to use the public to turn on our striking members by allowing your tanks to go empty and frustrate you all.”
Hawaiʻi Gas has brought in temporary resources to help with customer deliveries. Officials say the company is moving forward with its contingency plans to ensure customers are taken care of as soon as they are able to.
“We know how much our customers rely on us to be there for them, and it disheartens us all to be in this position,” Hawai‘i Gas stated.
The two groups are slated to meet again on June 19.
The union continues to ask for public support as the members strike.