Union Trying To Save Housing For Del Monte Workers

(KHNL) - The union representing laid-off Del Monte employees is working to keep the roofs over the workers' heads.

Officials with the ILWU, the state, and Del Monte met behind closed doors Monday. Company officials left without speaking to the media.

Last Friday, Del Monte announced it's shutting down its Hawaii operations immediately. The produce company's original plan was to close in 2008. The parties are now scrambling to find jobs for the 551 laid-off workers.

In addition, about 125 families who live at Del Monte's Kunia Camp are wondering where they'll go.

"Definitely, we would like to have them continue living there," Fred Galdones, ILWU Local 142, said. "So far, the indication has been from Campbell Estate is they would like to be as cooperative as possible to have them continue to live in those camps. The question is at what cost."

The union is scheduled to meet with landowner Campbell Estate about the housing issue Tuesday morning.

The state is planning a job fair for the displaced workers December 13th.