Hawaiian Telcom updates its 'final' offer to union

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Pro basketball and baseball players are not the only ones making progress on the collective bargaining agreements these days. In a surprising development that may bring an end to a three-week old union impasse, Hawaiian Telcom (Nasdaq: HCOM) said that it made an updated CBA offer to its union.

Hawaiian Telcom

Hawaiian Telcom updated its final offer to union members.

The new offer developed with the help of a federal mediator working with bargaining representatives of both the company and the IBEW Local 1537 union, Hawaiian Telcom said. The updated offer comes after the company's so-called "Last, Best and Final Offer," which was made in October and was set to go into effect tomorrow.

Hawaiian Telcom now says that it will defer the implementation date of the "Last, Best and Final Offer" to allow union members to vote on the new offer. The union actually has agreed to take a neutral view of the updated offer, giving union members a chance to follow their own hearts and heads.

An expedited voting process will see ballots returned to be counted on Dec. 13. Both sides have agreed that during the voting period, there will be no work stoppages or slowdowns, and no lockouts.

According to a statement from Hawaiian Telcom, the updated offer adjusts the Last, Best and Final Offer "by graduating union employees' healthcare premium contributions at 5 percent for 2012 and at 10% effective January 1, 2013; providing up to 10 weeks of fully paid benefits annually for sick leave (instead of up to 26 weeks currently and 8 weeks in the prior offer); decreasing the target annual incentive payment; and withdrawing proposed changes to overtime computations and to certain work procedures."

The new offer also suggests a three-and-a-half year CBA duration instead of the historical three years, with a proposed expiration date of June 30, 2015.

The recent Hawaiian Telcom labor dispute comes not long after the company had begun to see a modest financial rebound after finding its way out of bankruptcy and after several years of struggles that began after Verizon (NYSE: VZ) sold its Hawaiian properties to Carlyle Group in 2005. The dispute also follows siumilar labor unrest at Verizon earlier this year that stemmed from that company's desire to force contract concessions on its unions.

For more:
- see this Hawaiian Star Advertiser article
- and the news release

Related articles:
IBEW Local 1537 went on strike earlier this month
Hawaiian Telcom's "final" offer was due to be implemented Dec. 1
Things have been looking up financially for Hawaiian Telcom