City threatens union
A private operator mayBy Gregg K. Kakesako
take over if the UPW
refuses automated routes
The city has threatened to turn over garbage collection to a private operator unless the United Public Workers union agrees to convert more routes to automated pickup.
At issue is a pay raise that was rejected by Mayor Jeremy Harris last year but which was upheld by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board Oct. 30.
Carol Costa, city spokeswoman, said the mayor disputes the board's ruling and has taken the matter to court.
Last month, Ken Sprague, city Environmental Services director, wrote to UPW head Gary Rodrigues saying the city will move ahead with plans to automate 16 more routes this year.
If the UPW doesn't go along with the changes, the city will begin soliciting requests for a private hauler, Sprague said.
Costa said it is costing the city an additional $2 million this year to use a three-person crew to manually pick up the garbage on eight of the 16 routes instead of a one-person automated truck.
A UPW spokesman was not available for comment.