Honolulu council passes union construction bill

Source: bizjournals.com

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday voted to pass a bill to require the city to create project labor agreements for infrastructure projects of $2 million or more after hearing more than an hour of testimony from representatives of nonunion contractors and labor unions.

Bill 37 passed on a 7-2 vote, with Councilmembers Brandon Elefante and Heidi Tsuneyoshi voting no; and Councilmembers Carol Fukunaga and Ann Kobayashi voting yes, but with reservations.

The bill was backed by the Hawaii Construction Alliance — an alliance of the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Union, Local 630; the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1; the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 368; and the Operating Engineers, Local Union No. 3.

But groups such as the General Contractors Association of Hawaii and the Associated Builders and numerous small nonunion contractors testified that the bill would hurt small business.

They took issue with the bill’s provisions, which require employees of nonunion contractors who win city bids to pay union dues, and which require those contractors to also hire union workers for the jobs.

The bill now goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell for his signature.