Business briefs


POSTED: Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Airlines look to biofuels market

WASHINGTON » Fifteen airlines and air cargo carriers, including Hawaiian Airlines, said yesterday they've signed memorandums of understanding that could lead to the purchase of hundreds of millions of gallons of fuel made from either coal or camelina, a weed that's a cousin to canola.

The Air Transport Association said airlines from the United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico have signed memorandums with AltAir Fuels LLC of Seattle, which contemplates producing about 75 million gallons of fuel a year from camelina or similar raw materials, and Rentech Inc. of Los Angeles, which contemplates producing about 250 million gallons a year of fuel derived principally from coal or petroleum coke. Some airlines signed memorandums with both producers, but Hawaiian signed only with Rentech.


Big Island harbor use seen growing

KAWAIHAE, Hawaii » A maritime infrastructure company projects Kawaihae Harbor will need up to 20 acres of additional storage to meet the harbor's usage through the next 25 years.

Harold Westerman of Moffatt & Nichol says the harbor could receive the equivalent of between 240,000 and 313,000 20-foot containers by 2035.

Westerman spoke Monday at the Kawaihae Harbor 2035 Master Plan update meeting.

He presented three draft harbor plans. Two are designed around medium increases in harbor use, with the third designed for high increases.

The number of fully loaded containers coming into Kawaihae Harbor peaked in 2007, with the arrival of an equivalent of nearly 99,000 20-foot containers. Arrivals were down last year and again this year.


Nonunion hotel workers win case

Two nonunion hotel employees have obtained a federally mandated settlement from union officials with Unite Here! Local 5 and its national affiliate.

Brenda Lee Orr, a worker at Turtle Bay Resort, and Grant Suzuki, an employee of Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort and Spa, filed federal charges against Unite Here Local 5 last year, accusing union officials of illegally forcing nonunion employees to pay dues for activities unrelated to workplace bargaining. Suzuki also alleged that union officials failed to provide him with a federally mandated breakdown of all union expenditures.

After a preliminary investigation by the National Labor Relations Board, union officials agreed to a settlement that refunds all dues unrelated to workplace bargaining Orr and Suzuki paid since April 1, 2007.

The settlement also requires union officials to post workplace notices informing workers of their rights to obtain an audit of union expenditures and to opt out of certain union dues.

Foundation attorneys estimate that union officials must now return about 60 percent of all dues collected from Orr and Suzuki under the agreement.

United Here Local 5 spokesman Cade Watanabe said the union, which represents nearly 11,000 hotel, health care and food service workers, viewed the case “;as a distraction”; and chose to settle “;so that we could focus on lifting Kaiser workers, hotel workers and food service workers into the middle class.”;


Costco to get Big Isle abalone

Big Island Abalone Corp.'s made-in-Hawaii abalone will be available in Costco stores on Oahu beginning tomorrow.

The first Costco run will be tomorrow through Sunday at the Costco in Hawaii Kai and Monday through Dec. 24 at the Costco store in Iwilei. The abalone will be brought to other Costco stores in January.



;  Benchmark Hospitality International has appointed Kelly Lewis as general manager for the Makena Beach & Golf Resort. He was previously general manager of the Hotel Victor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu has announced the appointment of their 2010 board of directors: Harvey Rackmil, board chair; Dustin Sellers, board chair-elect; Corianne Lau, board secretary; and Lee Erwin, board treasurer. Committee chairs: Jeffrey Loo, committee chair board governance planning; Aubrey Hawk, committee chair marketing and PR; and Neill Char, committee chair fund development. Continuing directors: Paul Brown, Michael J. Murakoshi, Lauren Hong Wright, Elizabeth Lacy, Deborah Noji, Katherine Louie and Debbie Nakanelua-Richards. New directors: Alan Schlissel, Michelle Tucker and Greg Wood.