The way the HGEA contract negotiations have gone this month. you would think that the primary negotiations are between the Lingle administration and the counties, rather than with the union.
The situation has gotten progressively more heated:
Oct 2 (Honolulu Advertiser)
Indications were that the employers’ side was waiting to get the OK from one of the four county mayors to check-off on an agreement that would be taken to HGEA’s membership for ratification.
Oct. 2 (Star-Bulletin)
Hannemann said all four of Hawaii’s county mayors would approve the contract, but not until an unspecified issue was clarified.
“It is not a deal-breaker,” he said.
The contract with the HGEA must be approved by at least one of the four mayors along with the governor.
Earlier Lingle and Hawaii Government Employees Association Executive Director Randy Perreira characterized the talks as being within hours of coming to an agreement on a new contract.
Oct. 4 (kitv.com)
The state and HGEA said all that is needed now is for one of the four county mayors to sign off on HGEA’s contract agreement.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said the four mayors will probably sign off on the deal this week after some concerns are addressed.
Oct 6 (Honolulu Advertiser)
Gov. Linda Lingle says a new contract with Hawaii’s largest state employee union is being held up in part because none of the state’s four island mayors has signed on.
Oct. 6 (Star-Bulletin)
Gov. Linda Lingle also said there were a “couple of issues” that needed to be worked on, and she was hopeful an agreement could be reached by the end of the week.
There was no word from the state’s four county mayors.
At least one of the mayors must agree to the contract. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said last week the mayors wanted to review the most recent proposal and decide together whether to approve it.
Oct 7 (Advertiser)
Most of the HGEA workers covered by the potential settlement work for the state, yet, under state labor law, the counties have a voice in the process. The law also gives the governor a say over county police and firefighter contracts even though most police officers and firefighters work for the counties.
“We’ve learned the hard way about the complications and the impact those complications can have,” Lingle said. “Not being able to move forward right now because the mayors aren’t in sync with us is causing us to take much longer than it needs to be.
“We should have had this finished by now, but it’s just the way the law is written.”
Oct 7 (Star-Bulletin)
Throughout the contract negotiations, the mayors have attempted to speak as a unified voice, with Hannemann typically taking the lead.
Last Friday, when a contract appeared imminent, Hannemann said there still was an issue that needed to be clarified and that the mayors wanted to work on contract language.
Those negotiations continued yesterday.
Because the state and counties are on the same side in the contract negotiations, both have to agree on the deal before it can move forward.
Lingle called that process “complicated,” noting that the counties’ negotiating with different bargaining units has delayed an agreement. “They want to craft some language of their own as it relates to pieces of the contract — how they think it’s going to impact them,” she said.
Oct 8 (Advertiser)
Gov. Linda Lingle said Tuesday that an announcement of a new contract with the state’s largest public-sector union has been delayed in part because none of the mayors had signed off on the deal. Under state labor law, the Lingle administration needs at least one county mayor to agree because the contract involves both state and county workers.
In a joint statement yesterday, the mayors said they had sought clarification on several key issues and had only received information back on Tuesday.
“Any talk of ‘mayors not being in sync’ with what’s been progressing is total hogwash,” wrote Honolulu’s Mufi Hannemann, the Big Island’s Billy Kenoi, Maui’s Charmaine Tavares and Kaua’i's Bernard Carvalho Jr. “We are intimately involved and have been in constant discussions with the governor’s staff and with the key officials of the HGEA.
Oct 8 (Star-Bulletin)
The four county mayors shot back yesterday at Gov. Linda Lingle’s complaints that they are getting in the way of an agreement between the state and the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
“Any talk of ‘mayors not being in sync’ with what’s been progressing is total hogwash,” the four said in a news release.
Oct. 10 (Star-Bulletin)
Hannemann, who just returned from a tourism promotion trip to Japan and a municipal conference in Seattle, faulted the state for not getting all the contract details to him early on.
“It wasn’t until yesterday we got some written language from the state,” Hannemann said, adding that Gov. Linda Lingle has not kept up with the day-to-day negotiations.
“The governor doesn’t really know this because our staffs are talking, and that is how we get out information. I think sometimes when she speaks she is not really fully informed,” Hannemann said.
The words got heated.
Thursday, Lingle criticized the mayors, noting that only Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho was in the state.
“Hopefully, even though they’re traveling in other parts or the world or country, they’re going to give this the proper attention,” Lingle said.
Hannemann advised Lingle to tone down her rhetoric, saying, “We don’t tell the governor how to run the state. She shouldn’t tell the mayors how to run the counties.”
Oct 10 (Honolulu Advertiser)
Hannemann said the mayors, to his knowledge, had not seen the terms of a final offer to the UPW. He dismissed suggestions by the governor that the mayors have delayed settlements with the unions.
“She’s really got to stop doing this finger-pointing on this whole situation here,” the mayor said. “We are just as motivated as she is, as the unions are, to resolve a settlement.”
Lingle has said she will ask the state Legislature next session to change the collective bargaining process to help avoid future complications between the state and the counties, which often have different interests in contract talks.
The mayors have been negotiating as a group, so Lingle has had to get agreement from all four mayors instead of the one mayor required under state law. Asked whether this would set an unrealistic precedent for future labor talks, Hannemann — a potential candidate for governor next year — said he believes it is the right way.