Contract Negotiations Updates
2013 Contract Negotiations
2011 Contract Negotiations
What is Collective Bargaining?
Collective bargaining is a series of negotiations between representatives of the Union and the Employer to work out an agreement on wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. HGEA receives its authority to negotiate for HGEA bargaining units from:
- Constitution of the State of Hawaii
- Article XIII, Organization, Collective Bargaining, Section 2. Public Employees
- Article XVI, Section 1. Civil Service
- Article XVI, Section 2. Employees’ Retirement System
- State law, Chapter 89 – Collective Bargaining, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS)
Chapter 89, HRS covers state and local government employees. Provisions cover, among other things, employee
rights; management rights; negotiations (scope, timelines and procedures); consultations; and employer and
union prohibited practices.
Why arbitration? Why can't we go on strike?
Arbitration is a method of settling a labor dispute by having an impartial third party hold a formal hearing, take testimony and render a final and binding decision.
Provisions for arbitration of HGEA contracts are contained in Chapter 89, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). If contract negotiations reach a stalemate (impasse), they are resolved by an arbitration process in which the decision is final and binding on all parties. Impasse is declared when the union and employers fail to reach an agreement in contract negotiations. Once impasse is declared, we may proceed to arbitration to resolve our contract.
HGEA bargaining units do not have the right to strike. An HGEA strike would have a devastating effect on our community. This was the Legislature’s premise in enacting arbitration as a modern way to resolve our labor disputes.
There are only two ways to resolve HGEA contracts: a voluntary settlement reached between the Employers and HGEA, or final and binding arbitration.
Q: What is arbitration?
A: Arbitration occurs when the union and employer fail to reach an agreement on a collective bargaining
contract. Arbitration is a process that allows the parties to resolve issues that were not resolved through
bargaining to be presented to an arbitration panel.
Q: At what point does HGEA enter arbitration?
A: In contract negotiations, final and binding arbitration is a last resort to resolve contract negotiation
impasses. HGEA has never entered into the arbitration process without first attempting to conduct meaningful
negotiations. HGEA’s desire in all contract negotiations is to seek agreement that both the employers and the
negotiating team members find acceptable.
Q: Who comprises the three-member arbitration panel?
A: One member is appointed by the employer, one by the union and the third is usually selected from a list of
arbitrators provided by the American Arbitration Association. That third member becomes the chairperson of the
arbitration panel. Two of three panel members must agree for a decision to be rendered.
Q: What must the arbitration panel consider in reaching its decision?
A: The arbitration panel is required to give consideration to and explain how the 10 factors set forth in
Chapter 89, HRS is considered in reaching its decision. Among the most important of the factors listed is:
“The financial ability of the employer to meet these costs provided that the employer’s ability to fund cost
items shall not be predicated on the premise that the employer may increase or impose new taxes, fees or charges
or develop other sources of revenues.”
Some of the other factors the arbitration panel must consider are: the present and future general economic
condition of the counties and the state; comparison of wages, hours and conditions of employment of the
employees involved in the arbitration proceeding with the wages, hours and conditions of employment of other
persons performing similar services; and the overall compensation presently received by employees including
direct wage comparison, vacation holidays and excused time.
Q: Is the decision of the arbitration panel binding on the employers and the union?
A: Yes, the decision of the arbitration panel is final and binding on the parties and is not subject to
ratification by the affected employees.
Q: How long after the close of the hearing is a decision rendered?
A: Unless modified by the parties through an alternate impasse procedure, the decision must be issued within
30 days after the conclusion of the arbitration hearing. (Section 89-11, HRS)