FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 5, 2021
PUBLIC UNIONS ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S VACCINE POLICY
The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association (HFFA), Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO), the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), and the United Public Workers (UPW) released the following joint statement in reaction to Gov. David Ige’s plan to impose a vaccination mandate for state and county employees:
We strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccinations as part of our united effort to beat the pandemic and protect our community’s health. The health and well-being of our public employees, who have been essential during this pandemic, remain our top priority while we continue to keep vital government operations running every day.
The public-sector unions reached out to the governor’s office earlier this week to initiate discussions about the vaccine mandate, but our request was denied. We will continue to fight for open discussions about these important decisions that affect public employees, our government operations, and our community.
The emergency proclamation will impact our members’ working conditions and the employer must bargain those impacts with the appropriate collective bargaining units. Details on how tests will be administered, how results will be kept confidential, and how the state will fund this mandate will need to be negotiated with the state and we look forward to having those discussions right away.
The collective bargaining process is premised on the foundation that a harmonious and cooperative relationship between government and its employees will better protect and serve the public by assuring the effective and orderly operations of government. There is no greater time in our history and existence that this process be recognized and honored.