Sunday, July 27, 2014         

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Furloughs end for workers paid by feds

By Associated Press


Furloughs for 1,200 state workers paid with federal funds are ending.

In its efforts to end all labor disputes held over from the Lingle administration, Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration came to an agreement with the United Public Workers union on the matter.

"We wanted to end furloughs for the federally funded state positions," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, Abercrombie's spokeswoman. "We wanted to start off on a clean slate."

"The state did not save any money by furloughing federally funded workers," she added.

The workers involved included staff with the Stadium Authority, animal quarantine, Hawaii Public Housing, parks, highways and harbors divisions.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle insisted on including federally paid workers in the furloughs to be fair to all the state's employees.

Most state workers who have been furloughed two Fridays a month have taken an 8 or 9 percent cut in pay since 2009.

The Abercrombie administration agreed with the UPW that the workers should not have been furloughed, saying, "Let's get these guys back to work," Dela Cruz said. "We're trying to right things that in our eyes weren't right."

Abercrombie is seeking a 5 percent reduction in government worker labor costs, which is equal to one furlough day a month, but said he won't resort to furloughs.

The state must still negotiate with public labor unions on these issues.

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