Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, November 4, 1997

Queen's workers reject pact; authorize strike

The Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers, Local 996, hopes to resume contract negotiations at Queen's Medical Center after employees rejected a three-year proposal last week.

Meanwhile, union officials say, the rejection constitutes strike authorization from about 650 blue-collar workers at Queen's.

A prime objection to the proposal was a $6.50 increase in monthly medical costs, Teamsters president Mel Kahele said. The proposal offered a 2 percent bonus the first year; a 2 percent pay increase the second; and a 2.4 percent pay increase the third year, union officials said. The union has been operating under an extension since its contract expired June 30.

Queen Emma Foundation buys Waikiki Town Center

The Queen Emma Foundation is buying the Waikiki Town Center, a three-story complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment operations on the Kuhio Avenue side of the International Market Place.

The foundation said it agreed to buy the building for an undisclosed price from Waikiki International Plaza, a partnership that includes Honolulu property investor Herbert Horita. The building at 2301 Kuhio is on 71,111 square feet of land owned by the foundation, which also owns much of the surrounding properties. No changes in the building are planned, said the foundation, part of the Queen's Health Systems.

AT&T says it's simplifying its long-distance rates

WASHINGTON -- AT&T Corp. said today it will simplify rates for residential long-distance callers not enrolled in a discount plan by pricing calls at a single rate depending on the time, regardless of the distance.

AT&T asserted that the changes, effective Saturday, will mean "many customers will see lower prices." But Geoff Mordock, a researcher who monitors long-distance rates for the Telecommunications Research & Action Center, a nonprofit consumer group based in Washington, disagreed. "I think it is negligible."

Under AT&T's new plan, "basic" -- nondiscount residential customers -- will be charged a flat rate of 28 cents a minute during peak hours of 7 a.m. to 6:59 p.m. Monday through Friday; 16 cents a minute during off-peak hours of 7 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. Monday through Friday; and 13 cents a minute for weekends -- all day on weekends.

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