Maui Lifeguards Continue Fight for Better PayMay 11, 2016, 7:57 AM HST · Updated May 11, 7:57 AM 0 Comments
The new Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association Unit 14 is urging the Maui Budget and Finance Committee to pass a resolution to fund an arbitration award for Maui Ocean Safety officers. Maui is the only county in the state that has yet to approve funds.
In a show of solidarity, colleagues and supporters on Oʻahu waved signs and rallied this week along Ala Moana Blvd. urging the Maui Council to pass funding for the arbitration award which adjusts the salary schedule of lifeguards to recognize and compensate them more fairly.
On Maui, about 50 individuals would be affected. Unit representatives say, “ocean and water safety officers are highly trained and skilled to conduct life-saving rescues in some of the world’s most dangerous ocean conditions.”
Maui County estimates beach attendance last year at more than 3.3 million people. Maui ocean safety officers took more than 163,000 preventive actions and performed 438 rescues and 5 resuscitations.
The committee is scheduled to take up the item again today.
Committee Chair Riki Hokama issued a press release last week saying the contract includes a “17% increase in wages because of the employees’ reallocation to a new bargaining unit, which includes a new salary schedule, continuation of their step movement plan, automatic increases in fringe benefit costs and four percent increases across the board.”
In a resolution submitted to the committee, the total projected impact of the contract for fiscal year 2017 is upwards of $1.05 million. The resolution also states the “arbitration decision and award shall be final and binding upon all parties” but “implementation shall be subject to appropriation by the appropriate legislative body,” according to Committee Chair Riki Hokama.
“Ocean safety officers are instrumental in ensuring the protection of our residents and visitors, and there is no doubt our employees deserve proper compensation for the service they provide,” Hokama said in a press release. “County council officials, who are tasked to find monies to fund salary increases in such agreements, have no say at all on what appears to be a ‘done-deal’ matter. The process is frustrating,” he said.
HGEA representatives are expected to fly in from Oʻahu today to testify at today’s meeting on Maui.