HI Settles Union Beef Over Hospital Privatization

     HONOLULU (CN) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday that the state and United Public Workers have come to an agreement over the privatization of three Maui County hospitals, with the current union contract honored until it expires in 2017.
     “We are elated to announce that we have a settlement with the United Public Workers Union,” Ige said.
     The agreement transfers control of three Maui area hospitals under control of the Hawaii Health Systems to Kaiser Foundation Hospitals on Nov. 6, 2016.
     The battle began a year ago, after Ige signed a bill to privatize the three hospitals due to financial concerns and the union sued. Workers claimed the privatization bill would deprive them of their bargaining rights and impair contracts.
     A federal judge ruled earlier this year that the union could not stop the state from privatizing the hospitals. She then rejected the union’s request to stay the transfers to Kaiser, setting up a showdown at the Ninth Circuit.
     In April, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit pushed hard for Hawaii lawmakers to pause the transfers until the current UPW contract expires in 2017 — and that’s precisely what the state and the union agreed to do on Friday.
     In return for asking the Ninth Circuit to lift its injunction and dismiss the appeal, UPW employees will work under Kaiser and be covered by UPW agreements until they expire on June 30 2017. Kaiser will then offer to hire UPW employees for a period of 6 months starting July 1, 2017
     “The agreement provides certainty to the people of Maui that they will continue to have access to high quality health care,” Ige said.

%d bloggers like this: