Damien Kim 

By Damien Kim
Business Manager-Financial Secretary

April 2016



2016 brings our biggest membership ever. We currently have almost 3,900 members. While this is good news it also reminds us that we also have a huge group from ages 50+ that could start to retire in the next seven years. To help alleviate this problem we also have over 400 apprentices in our program state-wide ready to take those spots.

As you can see, Training is very important to 1186. Whether it’s Telecommunication or Electrical Installation, classes are needed every day, and this is going to require more parking.

“. . . we are growing statewide, and bringing better facilities and training . . . ."
On Oahu we just finished the Dole Cannery classroom renovation, this will help us hold five more training classes. In the meantime we are designing and hopefully soon starting the five-story parking garage at our current Union property on Hau Street. This parking structure will have 300 stalls, and the ground level will be high enough to accommodate taller and wider company trucks. On a daily basis we could have up to 210 parking stalls being used just for training classes.  Soon after, the extension of our existing Honolulu building will take place. This will add more classrooms (replacing Dole Cannery in the future), more office space, an exercise room, and a meeting hall with kitchen.

We just blessed our new Maui Union/Training Facility on March 11, 2016, a momentous occasion for the “Valley Isle”. Some 35 years ago Galo Kimura was the first Business Agent for Maui entrusted with taking care of the members that resided there. Since that time Lew Shimabuku, Tommy Lau Hee, and now Ray Shimabuku have stepped in to represent those members and continues to do so. Maui’s membership is over 290 currently. The property was bought as an investment by our Annuity Fund, with the Union building and leasing space to the Training Fund. This property’s value has risen by 30% over the last year.

Kona’s facility has had its challenges in getting their renovations finished. As of today we are 90% done, with a punch list to follow. This facility has a Union Office, two classrooms, and an open area for hands-on training.

As you can see we are growing Statewide, and bringing better facilities and training for our members.


Under the leadership of International Vice President John O’Rourke and the 9th District staff, which includes Hawaii’s International Representative Harold Dias, our 9th District is still leading all 11 Districts for having the most membership. The IBEW nationally has 666,525 members and the 9th District has 131,261 of them. Our Local 1186 has grown by 19% over the last 8 years and remains with 55% of the market share. Organizing is key to growing our union, either with whole companies, or from “stripping” of their employees. 

Current organizing efforts include DirecTV with some 40 employees statewide, and Ikaika Builders with some 50 employees.  Leyton Torda and Dennis Kaloi are also active in bringing in non-union workers and giving them hope for a better future.

I have to thank everyone for our success. However we will not stop until all of Hawaii’s electrical industry is organized by IBEW.


As you can see, we remain busy with work in Kaka’ako, Waikiki, Ko’Olina, and Kapolei. Now we also look forward to the start of Ho’opili, which just  broke ground with mass grading for a build out of 12,000 homes, and a surrounding community which equates to 15+ years of work. 

Koa Ridge just got a favorable decision by the State Supreme Court to go ahead with construction of 3,500 homes and a surrounding community that will hopefully be starting in 2017. Two more condominiums, King's Village and Kamehameha’s Keahou Lane project will also be starting. I want to thank the developers and investors of these projects for using IBEW exclusively.


With stock markets being inconsistent and the economy coming back slowly, we have been holding financial seminars around the state explaining the way Trustees, both Management and Union, invest our benefit funds. Oahu held its second seminar in two years with around 120 attending each one. Maui, Kona, Hilo, and Kauai will be holding theirs real soon, so sign up and learn, ask questions, and meet the professional consultants who guide our  funds.


2,000 surveys have been sent out for our Electrical Industry to fill out and turn in. So far we have around 250 surveys that have come back to us. We want to give you the opportunity to have a say in your contract that will affect you over the next 3 – 5 years.


Lastly I would like to say that your Union is working hard on your behalf. While job visits are important, so is attending meetings to get information. Don’t let others ruin or divide this great union of ours, as it takes time and effort by everyone to maintain the success that we've been having over the past eight years.

Brothers and Sisters of Local 1186, have a safe and successful year.

Damien Kim

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In honor of the recent Labor Day holiday, The Hawaii Electricians is offering this quick study of how unions help workers with a voice on the job:

What is a Union?
     A union is a group of workers who forms an organization to gain:

  • Respect on the job;
  • Better wages and benefits
  • More flexibility for work and family needs
  • A counterbalance to the unchecked power of employers, and
  • A voice in improving the quality of their products and services.

How do people form a union?
     When workers decide they want to come together to improve their jobs, they work with a union to help them form their own local chapter. After a majority of workers shows they want a union, employers sometimes honor the workers' choice.
     Often the workers must ask the government through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election. If the workers win their union, they negotiate a contract with the employer that spells out each party's rights and responsibilities in the work place.

What kinds of workers are forming unions today?
     A wider range of people than ever before, including many women and immigrants, is joining unions: doctors, nurses, poultry workers, graduate employees, home health care aides, wireless communications workers, auto parts workers and engineers, to name a few.

How do unions help working families today?
     Through unions, workers win better wages, benefits, and a voice on the job — and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Union workers earn 26 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive healthcare and pension benefits than those without a union.
     In 2002, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $740, compared with $587 for their nonunion counterparts. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people, such as through expanded family and medical leave, improved safety and health protection, and fair-trade agreements that lift the standard of living for workers all over the world.

What have unions accomplished for all workers?
     Unions have made life better for all of America's workers by helping to pass laws endings child labor, establishing the eight-hour day, protecting worker's safety and health, and helping create Social Security, unemployment insurance, and the minimum wage.
     Unions are continuing the fight today to improve life for all working families in America.


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Business Manager-Financial Secretary
Damien Kim

Phone Numbers
Honolulu Office   (808) 847-5341
Hilo Office   (808) 961-6444
Kona Office   (808) 329-6960
Maui Office   (808) 244-8002
Kauai Office
(808) 245-7840

1935 Hau Street, 4th Floor
Honolulu, HI 96819