Hawaiian Telcom declares impasse

By Howard Dicus

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Telcom has declared an impasse in contract talks with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and says it will impose a new contract on Dec. 1.

IBEW responded by calling a boycott against the company, calling on members of other unions "to hold off on doing business with Hawaiian Telcom until the company returns to the bargaining table and bargains in good faith."

"The period of good faith bargaining has passed," the company said. It said it will impose as a new contract its final offer that the union rejected before calling a two-day strike during the APEC meetings.

The union sought complete retention of benefit packages including free medical coverage, pension benefits, and 26 weeks a year of paid sick leave, though it told Hawaii News Now only two employees used all their sick leave last year. It said it was willing to forgo raises to keep the benefits.

The company's last offer called for 1 percent wage increases, eight weeks of paid sick leave with a short-term disability program, and a 10 percent copay for medical.

Hawaiian Telcom has about 1,300 employees. More than half of them are represented by IBEW including installers, linesmen and customer service personnel.

In the summer quarter of this year, Hawaiian Telcom made a profit of $7 million on revenue of $97 million.

Land line cancellations led to 6 percent fewer lines than it served a year earlier, a problem facing all legacy telephone companies nationwide.

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