Letters to the business editor
Offshore service reps made inquiry painful
Despite what Mark B. Dunkerley (of Hawaiian Airlines) claims, his company's outsourcing of work from Hawaii
not only put Hawaiian citizens out of work, it made a fiasco of their customer service.
Recently, I tried to make modifications to return reservations from Maui to Oahu for my two traveling companions and myself. The whole painful process took more than three hours because the Hawaiian Airlines rep could barely speak English and was totally lost with Hawaiian place names.
Finally, after learning that Hawaiian no longer provided adequate oxygen support for those individuals with special breathing needs (my elderly father was recovering from emergency surgery in Maui and needed extra oxygen constantly), I switched to Aloha Airlines. They used a local representative and made the reservation in 15 minutes and supplied the oxygen my father needed.
When I returned to Honolulu, I tried to complain about the problem to Hawaiian, only to have my complaint taken by an offshore source. Needless to say, neither problem has been satisfactorily addressed by the airline.
'I will miss this kind of service' from airline
Regarding outsourcing by Hawaiian Airlines, we had two one-way unused tickets from San Francisco back to Honolulu, and were given three different stories on when we could use them. Finally, they seemed to be good for one year.
We got to San Francisco from Seattle, only to find there were no seats available when we wanted to fly. So back up to Seattle to purchase two one-way back-to-Oahu tickets for $700.
When we returned home, after waiting for hours to talk to someone about the unused tickets, I was told they had been used, and were no longer valid, because we had used them.
I called again, and waited 45 minutes, only to be told again very sharply they were no good.
I called again, and waited 45 minutes, and was told the same story again.
Each time it took the person less than a few minutes to explain to me very sharply that I did not understand.
I called again, and finally got a local sounding person. Yes, indeed, she was in Hawaii, and how could she help me. She was on the phone with me for at least 20 minutes, all the time very friendly. The outcome was the same, and I still think wrong, but at least she was patient and helpful.
I will miss this kind of service.
Article on generator was just part of story
Only part of the story was told in "HECO biofuel generator gets OK" (Aug. 7, 2007
The $143 million price tag covers only engineering costs and excludes interest payments.
Eighteen would-be parties have requested getting into the new PUC wheeling docket that will look at leasing arrangements for electric grids for the transmitting of renewable energy.
Energy-efficiency programs are being taken away from the utilities and being transferred to a new Energy Efficiency Utility in January 2009, which may sharply reduce demand and flatten the load. Either of these may eliminate the need for the proposed power plant.
By law, HECO can only bill the ratepayers for construction and interest costs if the plant is built, used, and necessary for utility operations. If the plant is PUC-approved and built, but not required, the stockholders and not the ratepayers would pay for it.
Life of the Land sponsored the only biofuels expert at the PUC evidentiary hearing last December. Dr. Tadeus Patzek testified against the proposal and HECO refused to cross-examine him. In uncontested testimony, Patzek noted, after accounting for all impacts, that burning biofuels at the plant was environmentally worse than using some fossil fuels.
Both the proposed power plant and the proposed BlueEarth Biofuel Refinery need further PUC approvals before either of them can be built.
Life of the Land
Pacific Beach worker seeks fair treatment
I'm one of over 400 hard-working employees
at the Pacific Beach Hotel. When I started working there as a housekeeper 19 years ago, it was OK, but since then the hotel management seems to have forgotten us, their loyal employees.
For over a decade, we got no raises.
We decided to make our workplace better, so we voted to join the ILWU. We began to reach some of our goals, like finally getting a decent raise. But we had to fight hard with Pacific Beach management just to get that.
Now, after over 18 months of negotiating and compromising on many issues to help the hotel, we still don't have a union contract from the Outrigger Enterprises executive that we have to deal with.
We're not asking for much. We're not even asking to close the big pay gap between us and workers at other Waikiki hotels. We're only asking the Pacific Beach for fair treatment, a fair share, and a fair contract -- because we deserve it.
Pacific Beach seems to be ignoring workers
I've worked at the Pacific Beach Hotel for almost 20 years, and in the last 12 of those, working conditions have gone steadily downhill. We had no wage increases for 10 years, even though we were given more job duties and responsibilities. I have seen hotel management mistreat and intimidate co-workers, and even experienced it myself.
Like the overwhelming majority of my co-workers, I'm glad we have a union representing us now. With help from the ILWU, Pacific Beach employees have made more progress in one year than we did in the last 20.
So why isn't the Pacific Beach Hotel listening to the workers and giving us a fair contract settlement already?
20 months is too long without a contract
I've worked at the Pacific Beach Hotel for 28 years. For 10 years in a row, we got no raises. During that time, the hotel also added new job duties and increased our workload to where it looks as if management is no longer concerned with providing our guests with quality product and service. That's why employees here joined the ILWU for a voice at work. We've been bargaining almost two years for a first contract, but it now seems that hotel management isn't listening to us.
Despite the many compromises workers have made, the Outrigger executive representing Pacific Beach in negotiations, Melvyn Wilinsky, has kept insisting that we have an "open shop" here or else he won't settle the contract.
The majority wanted a union here, the majority voted for it, and the overwhelming majority wants a union contract now -- not after two more years!
Please call Outrigger at 921-6600 and remind them that 10 years is too long without a raise, and 20 months is too long without a contract. Mahalo!
What else is needed for American Dream?
Employees of the Pacific Beach Hotel work hard to provide the best possible service to our guests. Guests tell us that's why they keep coming back.
Our employer, however, doesn't seem to recognize our contributions and pays us too little in terms of both money and respect.
I came to America, the land of opportunity, to seek a better life. But when companies treat their employees like how the Pacific Beach Hotel treats us, a better life seems to keep moving further out of reach, no matter how hard we work.
We voted to form a union in 2004 and have seen some improvements at work, but we still don't have a fair contract from the hotel after a year and a half of bargaining. What else do loyal employees have to do to gain our hard-earned piece of the American Dream?