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HGEA members awarded 6 to 7 percent salary raises

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An arbitration panel has awarded raises to about 27,500 public employees in six bargaining units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union announced Thursday.

The awards include raises that will total about 6 percent to 7 percent including salary step increases, but vary between the units, the union said. The state and counties also agreed to increase their contributions for health coverage during the new two-year contract, according to HGEA, but the union did not provide details about the health contributions.

“Hawaii’s high cost of living has made it difficult for many working families to make ends meet,” said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira in a written statement. “This arbitrated decision represents a fair increase for our bargaining unit members, and is in line with the recent settlement and arbitration awards for other bargaining units.

“There is still work to be done to bring salaries up to a competitive level in order to recruit and retain the best possible workforce, but we are grateful that this is a positive step in that direction,” Perreira said.

The new raises take effect July 1 for members of HGEA, which is the state’s largest union.

The arbitration award affects HGEA’s Unit 2, which includes 800 blue-collar supervisors; Unit 3, which has 13,400 white-collar non-supervisory employees; and Unit 4, which is made up of white-collar supervisors.

Also covered by the award is Unit 8, which includes 2,400 administrative, professional and technical employees of the University of Hawaii and the state’s community colleges; the 1,700 members of Unit 9, which is made up of registered professional nurses; and Unit 13, which includes 8,400 professional and scientific employees.

HGEA will conduct informational meetings statewide to detail the arbitration decision to its members, the union said. The contract arbitration is binding but still requires that the state Legislature and county councils fund the awards.

HGEA’s other two units, Unit 6, Department of Education educational officers; and Unit 14, state law enforcement officers and state and county ocean safety officers are still in negotiations.

Contracts for all 14 of the Hawaii public worker bargaining units are scheduled to end on June 30. An arbitrator awarded raises to Hawaii Fire Fighters Association last week, and the Hawaii State Teachers Asssociation reached a negotiated settlement with the state last Saturday.

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