Saturday, March 20, 1999

Shopo: More pay,
longer pact

SHOPO's final offer to the
counties before going into arbitration
would allow time for the
economy to revive

By Mary Adamski


The union representing police officers in all four counties is asking for pay raises totaling more than 20 percent and a differential that adds another 10 percent in contract demands that will go to binding arbitration.

The final offer submitted yesterday by the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers also calls for a four-year contract instead of the traditional two-year pact for government workers.

SHOPO officials have said they are seeking pay parity with West Coast police forces, which have recruited vigorously here and are luring many local officers with higher pay and lower costs-of-living.

Union spokeswoman Ola Souza said it is the first time they have brought a specific pay raise request to the bargaining table.

It comes after an impasse was declared and negotiations move into the next phase: mandated binding arbitration.

SHOPO's final offer "was specifically designed with fiscal responsibility in mind," said union negotiator Michael Kahoohanohano.

"We have always been mindful of the current state of the economy and, as such, our proposal was devised to provide the employers with four years in which to bring our officers salaries in line with those of their mainland counterparts," he said.

Souza said: "This is responsible, reasonable. It shows cooperation on our part in attempting to achieve a settlement. This minimizes the demand on the employer on the front end. It affords counties two years to turn the economies around."

The union demand is for a 1 percent increase on July 1 and Jan. 1 of the first fiscal year, two 2 percent hikes in the second year, a 6 percent raise at the beginning of the third year, and an 8 percent increase in the fourth year.

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris "has been working for a pay increase over the term of the contract, but not this year," said city spokeswoman Carol Costa. "He wants the police to stay, he wants to retain our quality officers."

Beyond that, "The mayor is not allowed to comment," Costa said.

The current contract expires June 30. Negotiations began in March 1998 and an impasse was declared in January.

The union also called for a 2.5 percent increase each year in the "standard of conduct" differential provided in the existing contract. The differential is paid because police officers are being held to the highest standard of conduct, 24 hours a day, Souza explained. Unlike other differentials, such as hazard pay which goes to motorcycle officers, this would be paid across-the board.

The arbitration panel -- which includes SHOPO's Kahoohanohano, Karen Peterson of the city Department of Human Resources, and California attorney Robert Steinberg as chairman -- will meet April 7.

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