HGEA confident despite likely impasse in contract talks


POSTED: Saturday, January 31, 2009

Contract negotiations between the state and the Hawaii Government Employees Association will reach an impasse tomorrow, but a union official said it does not mean talks are stalled.

“;It should not be seen as an indication that we can't agree and both sides are packing it in,”; said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. “;Quite the opposite.”;

State law requires the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to automatically declare an impasse if negotiators have not reached agreement by Jan. 31.

“;It should not be viewed as a signal that we will be looking for arbitration,”; Perreira said, adding that the state and union negotiators have had “;very limited meetings”; on contracts covering 29,000 HGEA members in seven units.

“;We are paying attention, waiting for the governor to come up with a plan to address the revenue shortfalls that we face. As a community, we all face this together.

“;From our standpoint, it should not just be government employees that have to bail out the state's mess,”; Perreira said.

Contracts that expire June 30 gave HGEA members a 4 percent raise in each of two years.