1/10/08

Replacements loom, Teamsters abandon pickets

More than 100 workers stopped picketing yesterday at Times Super Market stores on Oahu after a new offer from the company held out hope of an end to their three-week strike.

Members of the Hawaii Teamsters Local 996 are expected to discuss the latest offer today, though the union hasn't scheduled a vote. The union represents about 118 meat cutters and wrappers, deli clerks, fish cutters and utility workers who walked off the job Dec. 17.

The workers are striking over how long the company should pay medical premiums for employees on extended leave. They earlier rejected the company's proposal to set limits of one year for existing workers and three months for new hires, the only sticking point barring a new contract. There's currently no limit.

The strike involves about 10 percent of the company's 1,100-member workforce -- the rest of which is nonunion -- at its 12 stores on Oahu. The company says that if an agreement isn't reached soon, it will hire permanent replacements for all positions.

(starbulletin.com)

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