Union for some Matson workers threatens to strike over labor dis - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Union for some Matson workers threatens to strike over labor dispute

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Matson is facing a strike threat from The Marine Firemen's Union and the Sailors’ Union of The Pacific.

The contract for 135 Matson crew members and engine room workers expires at midnight Friday, and the sides are not anywhere close to resolving their differences; the unions are calling for raises and better job security.

"If they're really going to stick it to us, we're ready to strike,” said Charles Khim, one of the union’s attorney.

Matson says there's still plenty of time to work out a deal.

“Negotiations are in progress, and … Matson's aim is to bargain in good faith toward a fair and equitable agreement,” the company said in an email.

The unions say Matson has told them they can't afford to raise pay rates, but union members say said that's hard to believe when the company is building new container ships, seeking new routes and reported more than $80 million in profits last year.

More than 75 percent of the goods sold in Hawaii come here on container ships, workers say, and any disruption of services could create inconveniences for consumers.

While a strike by these two unions would not shutdown the docks, it would make it difficult for Matson to operate their container ships. Back in 2013, a threatened strike by the same two unions was averted after both sides were able to work out a new contract.

The last strike against Matson, which happened back in 2009, lasted just 12 hours.

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