Naniloa workers awarded severance
A federal judge has ruled that the former Hawaii Naniloa Resort in Hilo owes laid-off workers back severance pay for their years of service prior to 1999.
Judge Samuel P. King ruled in favor of the International Longshore Warehouse Union, which represented the workers. The ILWU maintained that the workers were entitled to the maximum amount of severance pay based on the collective bargaining agreement in place at the time.
The resort was then being sold to Kenneth Fujiyama, chief executive of Hawaii Outdoor Tours, which laid off roughly 140 workers last February. Only about 20 were rehired. The resort is now known as the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort.
The ILWU had also charged that Fujiyama was trying to eliminate union representation at the 391-room resort at the time and attempted to block its sale.
"These workers had already suffered the tremendous impact of a layoff from the Naniloa Resort, and to be forced to wait for the severance pay they were entitled to was like pouring salt on their wounds," said Richard Baker Jr., ILWU's Hawaii division director. "We do get some consolation in knowing that we can distribute their correct severance payments during the holiday season."
A little over 40 workers should be compensated, said Baker. He said the individual check for one senior employee would be anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 for his years of service prior to 1999.