Union, Hawai‘i Gas reach agreement to end two-week strike
Hawai‘i Gas union workers who went on strike two weeks ago voted to ratify a new three-year contract.
Workers from Teamsters Local 996 went on strike on June 1 demanding better wages, medical costs and retirement benefits. The terms of the new agreement included a 15% increase in wages over three years and a flat rate for medical insurance, which represents approximately 10% of the employee medical insurance premium cost. Approximately 90% of medical insurance premium cost is covered by the company.
“We are very glad to have come to an agreement with the Teamsters,” said Alicia Moy, president and CEO of Hawaiʻi Gas. “This situation has been tough for everyone, and we know we will need to find ways to heal and come back together as one ʻohana.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to work and servicing our customers. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we dealt with the issues that arose during the strike and are committed to getting operations back to normal as soon as possible.”
The Hawaiʻi Teamsters Local 996 represents 217 of the company’s 359 employees. The majority of union employees hold manufacturing, distribution, service and clerical positions.
“After weeks of negotiations, we have reached an agreement that we believe benefits both our members and the company,” Kevin Holu, president of Local 996, said in a statement. “We believe this agreement is a win for everyone involved. Our members will be able to return to work with the knowledge that their contributions are values and compensated fairly and Hawaiʻi Gas ca continue providing vital services to the people of Hawaiʻi.”
Hawai‘i Gas officials say Wednesday’s vote of approval also means an end to other unions preventing the propane barge and ship from docking and that Hawaiʻi Gas can focus on replenishing supplies.
While employees get back to work, the company will work to provide uninterrupted service, prioritizing propane deliveries to critical infrastructure customers such as emergency responders, hospitals and healthcare facilities.
During the strike, businesses throughout West Hawai‘i were impacted as the propane deliveries were late, forcing some of them to close because they couldn’t prepare hot food.
On June 8, 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.
“We are confident this agreement is in the best interest of our employees, customers and the entire community,” Moy said. “We appreciate the incredible amount of hard work that our dedicated team put in over the past few weeks to ensure we could keep operating, as well as the support and patience of our customers and the community.”
Editorʻs Note: This story has been updated with a statement from Hawaiʻi Teamsters and Allied Workers Local 996.