REPORT FROM THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, in conjunction with the Committees on Labor and Tourism, held an informational briefing regarding a possible engineer strike at the Boeing Company and the potential impact, if any, it may have on the State of Hawaii. CPC Chair Angus McKelvey headed a panel that included Reps. Derek Kawakami, Mark Nakashima, Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, and Gene Ward. The panel was rounded out by Ray Goforth, Executive Director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and Jeannine Souki of the Airlines Committee of Hawaii.
The SPEEA, which represents the personnel involved in the labor dispute, and Boeing are at odds over a new wage and benefits package. Boeing’s first offer was overwhelmingly rejected and the SPEEA has expressed significant concerns with the latest proposal. The next vote will be on February 15th and if the two sides do not agree, the SPEEA could possibly go on its third strike in history.
Among some of the possible issues discussed at the briefing were what effects, if any, the disruption could have on Aircraft On Ground support services, the impact the strike in 2000 actually had on the visitor industry, as well as the percentage of Boeing aircraft in the airline fleets that serve the state.
“I was pleased to see the HTA and the airlines in close communication to ensure that our visitors to Hawaii will have the confidence that their travel experience will be as seamless and enjoyable as possible,” said McKelvey. “Our proactive course of action will hopefully result with Hawaii being in a position to see as minimal disruptions as possible to our visitor industry, should this come to pass.”