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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Union members picket UPW in Hilo over prison closure

West Hawaii Today

United Public Workers members on Tuesday picketed the UPW union hall in Hilo in what is believed to be an unprecedented action against a local union by its members.

At issue is what some members feel is a lack of representation by the union in the closure of the Kulani Correctional Facility and reductions in force at the Hawaiçi Community Correctional Center, a 226-bed reintegration and work-release program for inmates who will be released on the Big Island.
Sgt. Jonathan Taum said about a half-dozen Big Island corrections officers are being laid off and an additional 30 or so will be forced to move to Maui or Oçahu as part of the “bumping” process state employees undergo when layoffs occur. Employees with seniority facing layoffs are allowed to claim other employees’ positions during the bumping process.
UPW Hawaii Division Director June Rabago said the union hasn’t given up fighting for its members, including filing grievances with the state and complaints with the Labor Relations Board and in court. All of those actions are pending, she said.