• Raise the Minimum Wage
    • The House Labor Committee is hearing HB2510, a slower minimum wage increase that would move the minimum wage up to $18 by 2030, except for tipped workers. We need all the testimony we can get to demonstrate broad support for the faster, better Senate language in SB2018.
      • This bill, proposed by the State House leadership team, also contains multiple tax credit provisions that are generally good for working families. It is our belief that House leadership is bundling these tax credits into their inferior minimum wage bill as a way to try and force us to support the bill. Fortunately, the tax credit provisions in HB2510 also exist in other bills that are still alive and doing well. Therefore, Raise Up Hawaiʻi suggests either submitting testimony as “Comments” or “Opposition” to HB2510, but we understand if some folks feel they have no choice but to “Support with Amendments.” The most important thing is to hammer home the message: $18 by 2026 is the compromise position when it already costs more than that to survive in Hawaiʻi today.
  • Paid Sick & Family Leave!
    • HB 1504, SB 2492 (language of bill has statistics-42% lack any paid leave, only 12% of lowest paid workers have any paid leave
  • Equal Employment for All!
    • HB1677, SB2560 – Equal employment or trans and non-binary workers.
    • HB2463, SB3347 – Right to exit the sex trade. Establishes a 1-year pilot program within the Department of Human Services to provide a basic monthly income of $2,000 for up to 1 year, to qualified persons who are verified victims of sex trafficking, or who are female or sexual and gender minority individuals seeking to exit the sex trade. 
    • HB2343SB3159 Criminal Records; Arrest; Conviction; Automatic Expungement RELATING TO THE EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS. Expands eligibility for, and automates, the expungement of arrest and conviction records if certain criteria are met, including the lack of a conviction record for a specified time period following the date of an arrest, conviction, or release from incarceration.
  • Ban Forced Overtime for Health Workers!
    • SB2602, – Limit Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
  • Ensure Safe Return and Fair Recall for Workers!
  • Right to Organize, Right to Collectively Bargain for U.H. Graduate Assistants and All Workers!
    • HB1531SB2552  (Creation of GA collective Bargaining unit)
    • SB2832 (Returns the right to strike to all public employees, Creation of GA collective Bargaining unit)
  • Improve Earned Income Tax Credit!
    • HB1507 and SB2485 – Makes the state earned income tax credit refundable and permanent
  • Shut Down Red Hill!
    • HB2316SB2172 – Decommission, defuel Red Hill.
    • Coalition Statement to Shut Down Red Hill –see below.

Contact: hiworkerscenter@gmail.com

Coalition to Defend & Respect Hawai’i Workers Pledges Support to Shut Down Red Hill!

The Red Hill fuel facility endangers working class communities. And therefore, the Coalition to Defend & Respect Hawai’i Workers, which is made up of 19 different labor organizations, unions and community groups fighting for the rights of all workers are unified in our call to SHUT DOWN RED HILL. 
To be clear, the more than 90,000 people who were directly harmed and displaced due to the fuel-laden water in their homes are employees and employee families of the U.S. Navy. ​​No employee should be poisoned by their employer, and the degree of harm inflicted upon these employees and their families is nothing less than shocking. As the employer, the US Navy must take full responsibility to not only ensure safe water for their employees and their families but to bear every penny of the cost of hardships that their negligence has caused these families. 

As workers and worker advocates ourselves, we also understand that every military family affected by the toxic water in the Navy’s water system is in the vulnerable position to speak out against their employer, the U.S. Navy. We support every military employee and family’s right to speak openly and freely about how they have been and continue to be impacted by the negligence of their employer without intimidation or fear of retaliation. 

But the urgency to shut down Red Hill goes well beyond the nightmare that these families are currently experiencing. The pandemic has proven to us time and time again that all of us live such precarious lives. Another major accident or leak could jeopardize drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people, intensifying further the stresses and strains of life in Hawaiʻi. 

We are especially concerned about the potential loss of jobs and livelihood for people in every sector – food service, tourism, construction, healthcare– should fuel-ridden water shut down these industries. For example, not only would toxic water harm the hundreds of thousands of visitors on Oʻahu on any given day, but it could also harm the thousands of local, hard-working hotel workers who are employed by the industry. We all rely on clean, accessible water.  This is another catastrophe waiting to happen.

We are gravely concerned about how another leak could impact the healthcare sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has already severely strained hospital capacity in Hawaiʻi and most importantly, the physical and mental well-being of our health care workers. Another spill would only intensify these strains, should a mass influx of residents and visitors sick from our water need care and should the hospitals own critical water sources become toxic and unusable. 

Working class women have borne a disproportionate burden in this crisis as they make up the majority of military spouses who have been responsible for taking care of impacted children’s daily needs, including transport to and from school, doctor appointments and other family logistics. Women, also make up the vast majority of public school teachers at the impacted schools, responsible for the implementation and supervision of student safety protocols as well as the emotional and social support that traumatized students call for. 

Many civilian workers are employed by the Navy and its contractors at Red Hill facilities.  In urging the shut-down of Red Hill, we also insist that these workers not lose their jobs and livelihood, but maintain their employment security through other means.Delaying the closure of Red Hill immediately imperils the working class communities of Kalihi-Palama, and Waipahu, who are in direct proximity to the Red Hill Shaft.  The majority of working class people in Hawaiʻi are already burdened by rising costs of goods and services, low wages, and lack of access to benefits such as sick leave and unemployment insurance. They cannot afford to be stricken with the crisis of toxic water. 
With the closure of several wells already in effect, we know that severe water shortages may lie ahead during the hotter and drier summer months.  Will we have to import water? Will the price of water increase as supply declines? What about all the products and services that depend on water? 

There have been too many delays and downright lies by the Navy.  A so-called “protector” of the people, the Navy has shown itself to be just the opposite–a major polluter and threat to health and safety.  It’s time we the people of Oʻahu unite to compel the Navy to cease doing damage to our islands, especially at Red Hill, where our aquifer is gravely threatened.  

The Coalition to Defend & Respect Hawai’i Workers, pledge our continued support for this important campaign to shut down the Red Hill facility and get its tanks drained as quickly as possible.   Shut down Red Hill!

Coalition to Defend & Respect Hawai’i Workers

  1. Hawai’i Workers Center
  2. UNITE HERE – Local 5
  3. OPEIU – Local 50: Hawai’i Nurses Association (HNA)
  4. Hawai’i State Teachers Staff Organization (HSTSO)
  5. Living wage Hawai’i
  6. Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA)
  7. Working Families Coalition
  8. Raise Up Hawai’i
  9. Academic Labor United (ALU)
  10. Faith Action
  11. Young Progressives Demanding Action (YPDA)
  12. Pono Hawai’i Initiative
  13. Thriving University for a Thriving Hawai’i (TUTH)
  14. Anakbayan Hawai’i
  15. AiKea Movement
  16. Af3irm Hawai’i
  17. Hawai’i People’s Fund
  18. Hawai’i Peace & Justice 
  19. Hawai’i Scholars for Education & Social Justice


TAKE ACTION FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE!Workers are STILL waiting for their unemployment benefits after a whole year, yet the unemployment offices remain closed. Join us as we rally in front of the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations office on Monday, July 12th at 12PM, demanding a safe reopening of the unemployment offices so that working class families can get the assistance they deserve and have a right to receive!

A coalition of concerned community organizations and unions have united to hold an action on Wednesday, February 24. It will begin at the DLIR Office (830 Punchbowl St.) at 10:15am to call for the Unemployment Office to safely open up for the many workers in Hawai’i who are struggling with receiving their unemployment insurance. We will then bring our demands to the Capitol where we will also rally for workers to have a safe return to their jobs and the right to recall. We also demand for an increase in the minimum wage to a living wage.

If you or organization would like to join the coalition, bring issues, or have questions, feel free to email us at hiworkerscenter[@]gmail.com.

We hope to see you at the action on Wednesday, Feb 24 with your masks on — save the date!