HONOLULU – One of the largest unions in Hawaii, the United Public Workers, AFSCME Local 646, AFL-CIO (UPW) formally announced its endorsement today of Mufi Hannemann to serve as Hawaii’s next governor.  In a unanimous vote taken by the union’s state political action committee, UPW cited Hannemann’s commitment to bettering the lives of working people and ability to successfully collaborate with multiple agencies and his mayoral counterparts on the neighbor islands.

“Mayor Hannemann knows the value of UPW members,” said UPW state Director Dayton M. Nakanelua.  “He has a unique appreciation and understanding of the core services provided by our members, and knows first-hand of the challenges they face.  As Mayor, Mufi has demonstrated that he can find solutions that benefit the greater good of the community. As governor, Mufi will be our best hope to get state government working again in a way which we all can be proud of.”

UPW represents 13,000 civil service workers across the state, including cafeteria workers, custodians, electricians, correctional officers, licensed nurses and nurses aides, refuse collectors, carpenters, treatment plant operators and mechanics, to name a few.

Leonae Rodrigues, Unit 10 member, UPW:
“As a UPW state employee, I really appreciate the good Mufi has done for my brothers and sisters at the City & County of Honolulu.   We cannot forget that while state workers have taken 13 furlough days since April, Mufi did not furlough our city members in the first year and continued to support the employer’s 60 percent share of the medical cost for us.  Mufi has always been there to support the working men, women and retirees of UPW and we are deeply proud to voice our support for Mufi to be Hawaii’s next governor.”

When contract negotiations between the state and the UPW broke down late last year, the four county mayors stepped up their involvement to reach an agreement for a new collective bargaining pact for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.  In the past, mayors have traditionally taken a secondary role to the governor in leading the negations on behalf of the employers.  The work of the Hawaii Council of Mayors, of which Hannemann is one of the founders, was instrumental in bridging the impasse caused by the lack of collaboration by state negotiators.

“I am humbled and honored to have the endorsement of UPW,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann.  “Their announcement serves as a statement that the 13,000 working men, women and retirees of UPW, people who know our city best, believe that I have the ability, experience and leadership to be Hawaii’s next governor.  In me, they know that they are getting a partner who supports working families and understands the importance of the core service they provide to make our state the best place in the country to live, work and raise our families.”

With today’s endorsement by UPW, Hannemann has now garnered support for his gubernatorial bid from four out of the five city public worker unions.  These unions include the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), Hawaii Fire Fighters’ Association (HFFA) and Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Union, Local 996.  Hannemann has received a total of eleven union endorsements to date.

In 2008, Mayor Mufi Hannemann signed a historic drug and alcohol testing agreement with the UPW that allowed random alcohol and controlled substance testing for all Bargaining Unit 1 employees as part of an ongoing effort to ensure a safe workplace environment.  The UPW was the first union in the state to enact random drug and alcohol testing for its members.

UPW State President James Wataru:  “The fact that the vote was unanimous is telling of the confidence our membership has in Mufi Hannemann.   As shown in our recent contract negotiations, he’s not one to force things on us; he will sit with us to discuss and reach a compromise that is in the best interest of all.  UPW is proud to stand with Mufi Hannemann because he reflects our values, work ethic, style and temperament which make Hawaii such a unique and special place.”

Muliufi Francis “Mufi” Hannemann, the City’s 12th mayor, was elected in 2004 and reelected in 2008.

Submitted by the Hannemann campaign

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