Delay in recycling
The city and the United Public
Workers are still in negotiations
The union representing city refuse-collection employees is asking the courts to order the city to halt plans to start Phase II of curbside recycling until a pending class-action grievance is resolved.
The United Public Workers union, which represents about 211 refuse-collection employees, filed a motion in Circuit Court yesterday saying an order maintaining the status quo is necessary to protect the integrity of arbitration proceedings, which have yet to begin.
The city was forced to halt its 10,000-home pilot project in Mililani in August by an order of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board because the city had not negotiated a agreement with the union before extending the project beyond March 2004.
In September, the city announced it would resume curbside recycling in Mililani in mid-November and expand to the North Shore. If unable to reach an agreement with the union by then, city officials said they would contract with private workers.
According to the union, the city still refuses to negotiate, prompting the UPW to file a class-action grievance on Oct. 28.
The city's plan to implement Phase II will result in major changes to agreements negotiated on behalf of refuse workers for more than 30 years, the union contends.
Collective-bargaining agreements reached between the city and the union when the city moved to trash automation in 1991 expressly prohibits the employer from making unilateral changes without negotiating with the union, the union says.
A November 2003 supplemental agreement also restricts the city's ability to make changes without the union's consent.
The city said it plans to expand the project to the Windward side in December, adding four other areas between March and June.
The city received the UPW's request for an injunction late yesterday, and city attorneys are expected to file a response by early next week.