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On-going Hawaii Gas strike starts to hurt families

By Shanila Kabir

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — June 11th is day 11 of the Hawaii Gas strike.

More than a dozen employees were out with their signs Sunday morning to spread the message. Aside from how it is affecting business, many families said the strike is hitting them hard.

A Kapolei resident who wants to remain anonymous said she is had to pick up not one, but three jobs because her family member has been out on strike against Hawaii Gas. She said the union workers are fighting for sufficient, livable wages.

So far, she said she has seen no progress.

“Hawaii Gas is local when it comes to the families working there. We have legacies within this company. You will see fathers with their sons because they believe in Hawaii Gas. Hawaii Gas needs to support them in fair wages, otherwise it is just corporate greed.”

According to Teamsters Local 996, workers asked for a 30% wage increase and a small increase in their medical premiums. During negotiations, they dropped their proposed wage increase demand to 22%.

Hawaii Gas responded with an offer of 8.6% and premiums too high, according to striking workers.

“They’re worried about how they’re going to pay their mortgage and they’re worried about how they’re going to provide for childcare and also pay utility bills. It’s just daily and monthly survivals we all have.”

The union claims Hawaii Gas has hired non-union workers to deliver gas while the strikers remain on the picket line which workers consider a slap in the face.

Hawaii Gas released a statement saying:

“We have consistently communicated to the union that getting our employees back to work is a priority for us, and we are available to meet at the table immediately. These delay tactics and mistruths are only hurting customers and employees by causing delays and uncertainty.”

The next bargaining session is set for June 19th but Hawaii Gas said they are ready to meet sooner.

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