Damien Kim 

By Damien Kim
Business Manager-Financial Secretary

December 2016



This was the theme for our 39th Convention of the IBEW held in St. Louis, Missouri, the birthplace of Local 1 and celebrating 125 years as a Trade Union. Henry Miller, our founding father, organized the first 10 persons to form the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, now known as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Today’s mission is the same as it was 125 years ago, to organize and protect workers.

At this year’s Convention, elections were held, and International President Lonnie Stephenson, International Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore Chilia, and International Executive Council Chairman Chris Erikson of Local 3 were unanimously re-elected. Also unanimously re-elected was our I.E.C. District 7 Patrick Lavin and 9th District International Vice President John O’Rourke. It was an honor for me to represent Local 1186 by being appointed to the IBEW International Finance Committee, to the Chair of the Caucus of the I.V.P. 9th District elections, and be elected to represent IBEW at the Metal Trades Convention.

“2016 Has Come to an End and We Have Many Accomplishments as Well as Accolades."

“Change” . . . that is a scary word sometimes. Change can be good and bad; it depends on each situation. 

Change is constantly happening from the day you're born. Each time you entered a new grade in school or celebrated a birthday, a change occurred. In Hawaii, we didn’t think at one time McDonald's was going to be a good idea because we always ate at home, and no one wanted fast food! No one thought public transportation – “The Bus” – was needed, but now it’s the busiest public transportation in the United States. Who ever thought we needed the H-3 Freeway? Who would have thought we would have traffic jams? These questions can be solved by embracing some changes in life. We, unfortunately, now eat fast food for convenience. We also now need a mode of transportation to help the traffic we experience every day. Adding more buses to the already busy roads just won’t do.  Rail will help us with this situation.

Some changes are not so great. Leaving our country into the hands of someone with no political experience or even participation in the governmental system sounds dangerous to me. This country faces a big challenge ahead with President-elect Trump, a Republican majority House and Senate, and a soon to be Republican-run Judiciary. Federally this change is not very Labor-friendly.  Labor laws like Davis-Bacon prevailing wages and Project Labor Agreements could face their demise. We now have four years to endure, but we need to plan now for the next election.


2016 has come to an end and we have many accomplishments as well as accolades. In organizing we have three major companies to talk about: Kona Oceanic (Charter), Ikaika-Osmose, and DirecTV (AT&T). Currently we are still in negotiations with Kona Oceanic and Ikaika.

We also finished Maui’s own Union Office and Training Center. This 8,000 square-foot facility will now be home to our 250 members who live in Maui.

Another first-time event was the Financial Seminars for our own Pension and Annuity Funds, put on for all members on all Islands. This allowed our members to hear our professionals go over their investments, actuarial assumptions, and legal regulations that your Trustees must follow. These seminars also allowed our members to ask questions they may have about our investments. Our Union election was also settled favorably, despite a lawsuit against both the International and the Local Union.

Transparency in the Union Dues are also being taken care of with a new Labor Power System for our computers, to allow our members to see line-by-line items for dues deductions. Soon we will launch our website: ibew1186.org for all members to access to check their dues, and view items for purchase.

Our Warehouse and Inside/Outside contracts were also negotiated successfully this year. Despite some challenges for both contracts, I believe we came out of it well, getting 12% raises over four years.

Finally, construction is still going on strong for big developments in Kaka’ako and Waikiki, and soon Ho’opili and Koa Ridge subdivisions; however we still face challenges for mid to small projects with the non-union. Finding the balance was the key to our negotiated contracts. Oceanic Cable (Charter) also continues to grow for installers and customer service. As we grow in all areas of our Local, our membership grew around 200 members to about 4,000 total.


I want to thank all of those who volunteer countless hours representing IBEW 1186 in the community. We are always appreciative of our retirees as they give up their time to help us keep going strong. I encourage other members who haven’t had the chance to volunteer to come out at least once a year to give back to our community.

We wrapped up last year celebrating 75 years in existence, so I encourage our some 500 apprentices statewide to get involved with your Union – You are our Future!

Lastly . . . Have a safe and Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year!

Mele Kalikimaka and a Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

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 over 25 percent more than nonunion workers and are more likely to receive healthcare and pension benefits than those without a union.
     In 2016, median weekly earnings for full-time union wage and salary workers were $1004, compared with $802 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