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Hawaiian Telcom to impose contract on union

Hawaiian Telcom said today it will impose a contract on union members that the workers voted down last month.

The state’s largest phone company said it will implement its “last, best and final” contract offer on Dec. 1.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 1357 voted to reject the contract on Oct. 31 and held a two-day strike this month to pressure the company to improve its contract offer.

“Union leadership’s recent demands, work stoppage, and threats toward employees who elected to work during the work stoppage indicate that the period of good faith bargaining has passed,” the company said in a statement.

Union spokesman Harold Dias, international representative for the IBEW, said the union wanted to continue negotiations with the company.

“They are unwilling to go back to the table,” Dias said. “We wanted to get back to the table.”

“The company never bargained in good faith,” Dias said, adding that the union will file an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. “Striking is always an option,” Dias added.

The union represents about 700 of the 1,300 workers at Hawaiian Telcom. They have been working without a contract since Oct.  24.

The company’s last offer was a three-year contract that included a 1 percent annual raise plus a $500 signing bonus each year. It also included a cut in paid sick leave to eight weeks a year from 26 weeks in the old contract. The company also proposed employees pay 10 percent of their medical premium. The company currently pays 100 percent of the premium. In addition, the company proposed freezing the current defined benefit pension plan and enhancing a 401(k) plan for employees.

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