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HECO Union Employees Go on Strike

Hawaiian Electric and Maui County News Release(s)

For more than five months, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company (HECO, MECO, HELCO) have been negotiating a new contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260, which represents the companies’ unionized employees on Oahu, in Maui County and on Hawai`i Island.

The union gave the companies notice that its members have initiated a strike as of 3:30 p.m., today, March 4.

“We are disappointed that the union has chosen to take this action, especially since there are still thousands of customers without power following the severe weather that hit overnight. A strike clearly hurts everyone. We have been working to arrive at an agreement that balances the interests of our employees and our customers, and are willing to continue to negotiate,” according to HECO’s news release.

Maui County officials released a statement, assuring the public that it has taken every precaution to prepare for the potential of a MECO strike.

The county’s Managing Director, Keith Regan, has instructed all departments to test their generators and to have all fuel tanks topped off and ready for operation in the unlikely event of a disruption in service. These include sewage pumping stations which must be kept operational so that sewage continues to flow and be processed.

The Maui Police Department will station officers at the picket lines to ensure the safety of both sides during the strike.

Police, fire and other county crews will be on stand-by in the unlikely event of a power outage. MECO officials have assured the mayor that there should not be any disruptions in service.

“We hope that both sides can resolve their differences quickly,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “In the meantime, the county will take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

As part of responsible planning, non-union employees have been trained and prepared to step in and operate HECO’s electric systems to provide customers with the safe, reliable electric service they expect and deserve. HECO will be reaching out to the union for further discussions and hope that they will be able to reach an agreement quickly.

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