Hawai’i Public Employee Pay Cuts Take Effect Friday
By Wendy Osher
A 5 percent temporary pay reduction is set to go into effect this Friday for public employees in Hawai’i. The changes take effect with the start of the new fiscal year and the implementation of the new state budget. There will also be changes to employee health care benefits that call for equal contribution for state employees.
“This budget reflects the goal of shared sacrifice that we laid out in the very beginning of our administration,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “While some believe this is not enough and others feel it is too much, I believe these targets are a reasonable basis that recognizes the value of public employee efforts while living within our means,” he said.
The changes to not impact the United Public Workers (UPW) Units 1 and 10 and HGEA Unit 9 members who have not yet reached agreement with the employer on contract terms. Until there is an agreement reached or a decision through arbitration, HGEA Unit 9 members and UPW members will receive wages and benefits at the same levels received from June 30, 2009.
The following changes will take effect on July 1, 2011 for the specified union members:
- Hawai’i Government Employees Association (HGEA) members – except for Unit 9, registered professional nurses: will receive a 5 percent temporary pay reduction and 50/50 share on health care premiums. The contract was ratified by HGEA members in April 2011.
- Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) members: will receive the equivalent of a 5 percent temporary pay reduction and 50/50 share on health care premiums. Formal negotiations concluded and the state has notified HSTA members that it will be implementing its “last, best and final” offer to HSTA.
- Civil service employees who are excluded from HGEA bargaining units 2, 3, 4, and 13 and all exempt employees not covered by collective bargaining including the Governor’s staff: will receive a 5 percent temporary pay reduction and 50/50 share on health care premiums. This was done by Executive Order of the Governor.
- The Governor, Directors, Deputy Directors and others whose salary is set by the Salary Commission: will receive a 5 percent temporary pay reduction. This was done with the passage of Act 57. They will also pay 50/50 of their health care premiums.
Gov. Abercrombie said he has consistently opposed furloughs and periodic shutdowns of classrooms and government offices. “Public employees are a cornerstone of Hawai’i’s working middle class who pay taxes like everyone else and who keep our economy and communities thriving,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
While the state is still facing challenging fiscal times, the Governor said the targets of the new budget are “reasonable.” He said he remains committed to the state’s public employees and intends to continue dialogue.
“We look forward to the start of the new fiscal year as we continue to build economic momentum, improve state government, and invest in Hawai’i’s future,” said Gov. Abercrombie.