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Hawaiian Telcom workers to vote on latest contract offer

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:58 p.m. HST, Nov 29, 2011

Unionized workers at Hawaiian Telcom have scheduled a vote on an amended contract offer made by the company in an attempt to end a month-long labor dispute, the two sides announced today.

The company said it will defer the previously announced implementation of its “last, best and final” offer while members of IBEW Local 1357 to vote on the proposal. Ballots are being mailed out today and must be returned by Dec. 12. Results of the vote will be announced Dec. 13.

The latest negotiations were conducted with the assistance of a federal mediator.

“The updated offer represents a good faith effort by both parties to address each other’s needs and concerns toward achieving a mutually agreeable collective bargaining agreement while standing by the financial framework of the company’s last, best and final offer made in October,” the company said in a news release.

The company’s new proposal calls for phasing in an increase in the amount employees must contribute to their healthcare premium. Employees, who currently pay nothing for their coverage, would be required to contribute 5 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2013. Hawaiian Telcom’s previous contract offer called for workers to pay 10 percent immediately.

The company also rolled back its proposed reduction in paid sick leave. The new contract offer calls for a reduction in paid sick leave to 10 weeks from 26 weeks. Hawaiian Telcom previously had proposed reducing  paid sick leave to eight weeks from 26 weeks.

The company’s previous offer of a 1 percent annual pay raise over the next three years was not changed.

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