HGEA members approve 2-year contract


POSTED: Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The state's largest public employee union has overwhelmingly ratified a two-year contract that includes furlough days for most members and a pay cut for others.

Members of the nearly 30,000 members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association have been voting since Thursday. The union represents white collar state and county workers.

“;These agreements have clearly been difficult for our members to accept, but the ratification vote validates what HGEA has said along—that public employees are willing to do their share and help our state with its budget challenges,”; HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira said in a statement on the HGEA Web site. “;In accepting these significant wage reductions, we expect the Lingle Administration will look to ways other than layoffs to address the state's budget shortfall.”;

According to results released tonight on the HGEA Web site, the pact was approved by:

>> 70 percent of 456 votes cast in Unit 2, blue-collar supervisory employees

>> 77 percent of 9,456 votes vast in Unit 3, white-collar nonsupervisory employees

>> 70 percent of 503 votes cast in Unit 4, white-collar supervisory employees

>> 95 percent of 1,218 votes cast in Unit 8, administrative, professional and technical University of Hawaii employees

>> 60 percent of  890 votes cast in Unit 9, registered professional nurses, and

>> 75 percent of 5,486 votes cast in Unit 13, professional and scientific employees.

The only group that has not finished voting is the HGEA's Unit 6, which includes school principals and vice principals. The last portion of bargaining Unit 6, with a total of some 815 employees, was scheduled to complete voting at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in Pearl City.

The contract saves the state $204 million but that won't be enough to prevent layoffs that are already in motion, Gov. Linda Lingle said last week. About 750 state workers will lose their jobs next month saving the state and additional $30 million. Lingle has said no decision has been made on a possible second round of layoffs.

The contract calls for 42 furlough days over the term of the contract, which ends on June 30, 2011.

The union says that amounts to an 8 percent pay cut. HGEA members who work at the University of Hawaii would take a 5 percent pay cut this fiscal year and next.