Damien Kim 

By Damien Kim
Business Manager-Financial Secretary

February 2016


I hope everyone had  a great 2015! Union elections update – eight members (seven candidates and one non-candidate) protested the counting of the second election ballots. A letter was sent to our International Union and another to the Office of Labor Management (OLM) claiming violations in the first and second elections. A letter of response was sent by International  Vice President John O’Rourke back to us stating that based on an investigation done by International Business Representative Mike Grunwald, the seeking of a third election was denied. Since then, an investigation from the OLM was done, and we are awaiting the results of their independent investigations.

“2016 is also a big political year for everyone."

Work continues at Ala Moana Shopping Center; Kaka’ako will be finishing some, as well as continuing with other high-rise work; Waikiki’s International Market Place is slated to open in April; Hilton and Sheraton will be continuing work, as well as the Hyatt; and Hoopili and Ewa Villages got the green light to proceed in the housing area.  The west side is also busy with the finishing up of the Kapolei Regal Theaters and Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center – with a Macy’s, Consolidated Theaters, and Hampton Inn.  Renovations of the Ihilani Hotel should also be done by March, with more to come.

Negotiations for our Warehouse Contract have begun, and our Inside/Outside and Office Workers Contract negotiations should be starting around June. Surveys to our members will be sent out in March, so please look out for them and most importantly fill it out and turn it in.


The designing of our new Honolulu five-story parking structure should be finished in a couple of months, with permitting and construction hopefully to start around the summer. This 300-parking stall structure will make it possible to handle our bigger trucks and vans as well as enable future expansion vertically if needed. 

In the meantime, Maui’s Union Office/Training Center is slated to open by February 29, 2016. This building will have three classrooms, a kitchen, an 800 sq. ft. training area, storage, and a mezzanine floor for more classrooms and storage if needed. Maui Business Representative Ray Shimabuku will also maintain a Union office.

Kona facilities will finally finish their renovation, hopefully by the time you receive this newsletter. It will have three classrooms and a 600 sq. ft. training area. Big Island Business Representative Donn dela Cruz will also support an office located there.

We have also been expanding our membership, which the last I’ve seen was at 3,850 for total active membership. We welcome our new members, and urge all of our membership to help out each other.


2016 is also a  big political year for everyone.  With President Obama serving his last term, candidates are coming out swinging, and if you have been following the Republican debates you know we will be in big trouble if any one of them are elected. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is up for re-election, as well as U.S. Representatives Mark Takai and Tulsi Gabbard. We need to give them our unwavering support as they continue to fight for Hawaii’s economy, labor, and military.

Locally, we have some Mayoral races and City Council races on all islands, all House seats in the state legislature are up, as well as half of the State Senate. As you know, your Union will come out with an Endorsement List before the election to help you decide who is friendly to Labor and is looking out for us. Don’t forget to register to vote, and vote when the time comes. You can also register for Permanent Absentee Ballots, if you choose.

Last but definitely not least is thanking all of the volunteers throughout the years, both active and retired members and their families, for their time in making IBEW a household name in the community. Your unwavering effort has given us a sense of pride in the community and carries the load for our whole membership.

In Solidarity,

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