Hawaii Labor Relations Board officially establishes Bargaining Unit 14
November 09, 2013
On November 7, 2013, the Hawaii Labor Relations Board (HLRB) issued its decision formally establishing Bargaining Unit 14 and the classes that comprise the unit. The addition of Bargaining Unit 14 — to represent state law enforcement officers and state and county ocean safety and water safety officers — is the first new bargaining unit in 34 years, a significant accomplishment.
We want to acknowledge the efforts of many HGEA members who were instrumental in lobbying for this legislation. It took three legislative sessions to pass, but in June, Senate Bill 883 was signed into law as Act 137, Session Laws of Hawaii, 2013.
After the bill became law, the unit had to be formally established through a petition with the HLRB, which is charged with establishing procedures and investigating and resolving any dispute concerning the designation of an appropriate bargaining unit and the application of Section 89-6, HRS to specific employees and positions within a bargaining unit.
In its petition to the HLRB submitted in August, HGEA identified the various classes that should be included in Bargaining Unit 14 — state deputy sheriffs, conservation and resources enforcement officers and harbor enforcement officers as well as state and county ocean and water safety officers. None of the employers expressed any objections to the classes and series identified in our petition. We estimate the current number of employees in Bargaining Unit 14 to be about 740.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Now that the HLRB has issued its decision, there are several internal procedural steps that must be taken. These include the adoption of Unit Bylaws that define how the unit will be governed, the number of Unit Board of Directors and the composition of the negotiating team.
Under Article V of the HGEA Bylaws, bargaining units with 2,500 members or less are entitled to one director to be elected to the HGEA Board of Directors. A formal election will be held to elect this director, and will involve mailing ballots to Unit 14 members within a designated timeframe and the counting of ballots by an independent third party as required by Article III of the HGEA Bylaws.
More information on these procedural issues will be made available to Unit 14 members soon.