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UPW ratifies two-year contract

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 5:22 p.m. HST, Nov 23, 2011

Blue-collar state and county employees represented by the United Public Workers have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new two-year contract.
UPW announced Wednesday that 89 percent of workers voting statewide chose ratification. The union represents about 9,000 workers.
The contract includes 5 percent in labor savings from 14 unpaid days of leave this fiscal year and 13 unpaid days of leave next fiscal year. Workers will also pay an equal 50 percent share of health insurance premiums, up from 40 percent. No layoffs will be imposed during the contract.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said there will be no interruption to public services on unpaid leave days, unlike the furlough days of the past two years, when many state offices were closed.
The Abercrombie administration has sought labor savings from UPW, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to help balance the state budget.
The administration reached agreements with UPW and HGEA and imposed a new contract on the HSTA, which the teachers union is challenging before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

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