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For Sunday, October 17, 2010

By Star-Advertiser staff


Hotel union writes convention group

The union representing striking workers at Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa today may resolve an issue with a mainland group that threatened to cancel its convention because of labor unrest.

The Wisconsin-based International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has said it may cancel its Hawaii convention next month along with the more than 9,000 hotel room nights. The pro-union group does not want to risk having to cross a picket line.

Unite Here Local 5, the union representing Hilton workers, sent a letter to the group's leaders, saying the union is working with the powerful International Brotherhood of Teamsters to find a resolution acceptable to the group and the union, said a source close to the talks who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The source said the union hopes to offer assurances to the group that will help it keep its convention in Hawaii.

Meanwhile, union officials were irate that Gov. Linda Lingle told the group in a letter that a union leader has given his "commitment and assurance" of no strikes, pickets or boycotts during the group's Nov. 14-17 event. The union insists it never promised not to strike.


Musicians withdraw labor complaint

The Honolulu Symphony musicians have withdrawn an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to spur symphony management into submitting its long-awaited bankruptcy reorganization plan.

The Musicians' Association of Hawaii, Local 677 of the American Federation of Musicians, filed the grievance in July after the Honolulu Symphony Society, which oversees the symphony, claimed it had "accepted the resignations" of the symphony's 63 full-time musicians following unsuccessful contract negotiations. The musicians insisted they had not resigned.

Kimberly Miyazawa-Frank, chairwoman of the symphony board of directors, informed the board on Tuesday via e-mail that the plan could not be submitted because of the musicians' pending case.

The reorganization plan was originally due to be submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday, but the Honolulu Symphony Society filed for and was granted an extension.

"Their claim that they couldn't submit the plan because of our grievance was hollow -- there was nothing preventing them from doing so -- but we decided to withdraw simply to help us all move forward," said Jonathan Parrish, a spokesperson for the musicians union and co-vice chairman of the orchestra committee.

The society is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 13, at which time a new date for submittal will be determined.


Flu vaccinations begin at schools

The annual school flu vaccination clinics have gotten under way in Hawaii.

The program, "Protect Hawaii's Keiki: Stop Flu at School" began Tuesday and will continue through Dec. 2.

More than 10 percent of Hawaii schoolchildren will get the flu in a typical year, the state Health Department said.

Officials say the program will be administering about 80,000 free doses of flu vaccine this year at 331 participating public, private and charter schools for students, faculty and staff.

This year's vaccine includes the 2009 H1N1 flu strain, as well as two other flu strains.

The "Stop Flu at School" program began in the 2007-08 school year in Hawaii, vaccinating about 60,000 children. About 62,000 children got the free vaccine in 2007-08, and more than 70,000 children were vaccinated last school year.

All students from kindergarten through eighth grade are eligible to receive the free vaccinations. Participation is voluntary.



Abusive dad owes state $102,000

HILO » A 19-year-old Hilo man who caused severe brain damage to his infant son when he hit the child's head against a car will spend time in prison and have to pay restitution to the state.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Kainoa Poepoe-Vigil was sentenced to 10 years Friday and ordered to pay the state $102,000 in restitution. He will be given credit for the for the 1 1/2 years he's already spent behind bars.

Poepoe-Vigil's sentencing comes after he pleaded guilty in August to first-degree assault on his then-4-month-old boy.

Authorities say Poepoe-Vigil hit the infant's head against the door frame of a car in March 2009, but did not seek medical attention for the child until the following day, when the child became unresponsive.

A doctor who treated the baby at a hospital testified during the trial that the infant would have died had he not been resuscitated by paramedics.


Abercrombie campaigns on Big Island

Democratic gubernatorial contender Neil Abercrombie is stumping on the Big Island this weekend.

Abercrombie, who had two Big Island events scheduled yesterday, will be making a third stop today at the Royal Garden of the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel on Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona. The gathering begins at 3 p.m.

Accompanying Abercrombie will be U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, lieutenant governor nominee Brian Schatz, Mayor Billy Kenoi, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and other officials.

Abercrombie is vying for the governor's office against Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

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