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Saturday, September 23, 2000

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Teamsters President Mel Kahele talks to the media before
entering the federal mediator's office for more negotiations.

Employers devise
contingency plans

The Hawaiian Regent,
however, sees no need

By Tim Ruel

Major employers on Oahu are taking mixed action because of a potential strike by bus drivers.

The Hawaiian Regent, one of Waikiki's largest hotels, is confident enough that a strike will not happen, and it has not created a contingency plan for employees to get to work, said spokeswoman Marsha Azuma.

"Historically, if you look at what's happened, they (bus drivers) haven't struck for 30 years," Azuma said.

"Nobody wants to go on strike either, yeah?" said Dwight Yoshimura, general manager of Ala Moana Center.

Should a strike happen, tenants at Hawaii's largest mall would have to make their own arrangements for workers to park in designated employee stalls, Yoshimura said.

Hilton Hawaiian Village, Oahu's largest resort, said it was encouraging workers to form car pools.

The Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel was more preparing for the worst by arranging the car pools. But the hotel has also told employees not to panic, said spokeswoman BJ Whitman.

The Sheraton is prepared to make room for workers on its parking lot, Whitman said. "And, if necessary, we will be changing shift times as well."

That's important because parking is already at a premium all over Honolulu and especially downtown and in Waikiki, according to Murray Towill, president of the Hawaii Hotel Association.

Meanwhile, downtown, both Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank confirm that hundreds of their employees apply for vouchers every month to ride TheBus to work.

In case of a strike, Bankoh is encouraging employees to pool together and come to work early, before parking becomes a problem, spokeswoman Carol Tang said.

First Hawaiian was still assessing the problem when contacted yesterday. "What we're trying to do is to identify what employees, for instance, might get flex time to minimize the difficulty," spokesman Gerry Keir said.

The effect of a strike on employees and parking are not the only two concerns for businesses. Yoshimura of Ala Moana Center said substantial numbers of the mall's customers ride TheBus. Ala Moana, which has about 9,000 parking stalls, was still evaluating the effect of a strike on customers, he said.

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