Carpenters Union meets with many members still jobless - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Carpenters Union meets with many members still jobless

Construction workers Construction workers
The Pacifica Condominiums on Kapiolani Boulevard The Pacifica Condominiums on Kapiolani Boulevard
Ron Taketa Ron Taketa
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Construction workers were on the job at the Pacifica Condominiums on Kapiolani Boulevard on Saturday. Work resumed recently on the project, which was known as the Moana Vista when construction was halted.

Construction workers have also been on the job at Disney's Aulani Resort in Leeward Oahu.

But those are bright spots that have been rare in the recession. The leader of the Hawaii Carpenters Union says they'll take any jobs that are out there.

"We need all of it," said union financial secretary and business representative Ron Taketa. "We have too many unemployed members, and the economy really needs to get stimulated at this point. That's why we're so strongly behind the rail project."

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann told union members at their biennial convention Saturday that the project will create four thousand jobs.

"Government is the only entity large enough to sustain an industry like ours when private investments run away," Taketa said.

According to Taketa, joblessness remains very high among the union's seven thousand members. He said 53 percent statewide are unemployed. Fifty percent of carpenters are jobless on Kauai, 45 percent on Oahu, 65 percent in Maui County, and 67 percent in Hilo. The worst unemployment rate for carpenters is in the Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii, where Taketa says 95 percent of carpenters are still without work after the recession halted work on luxury homes in the area.

Taketa said the widespread effects of the recession also meant carpenters didn't have any other jobs to fall back on.

"They can't go to school building maintenance because the state is cutting back," said Taketa. "They can't go into hotel maintenance because the visitor industry is hurting, and they can't go to the mainland."

Carpenters attending the union's convention are still hoping for more projects, including long delayed renovation projects at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel and Moana Surfrider Hotel, so that they can pick up their tools and get back to work.

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