WAILUKU, Hawaii – The Budget and Finance Committee today recommended approval of funding for the county lifeguards’ labor contract by a 6-0 vote.


The county’s 55 lifeguards are part of Bargaining Unit 14, a newly authorized statewide negotiating entity of the Hawaii Government Employees Association Bargaining. The contract, based on a binding arbitration decision, includes a 16 percent salary increase for ocean safety officers across the state.

Councilmembers expressed admiration and respect for the lifeguards and their critical work at county beaches, but raised concerns about county councils’ lack of representation in the collective-bargaining and arbitration processes for all bargaining units and the contract’s million-dollar price tag.

Voting to recommend approval of the resolution authorizing funding for the contract were Committee Chair Riki Hokama, Committee Vice-Chair and Council Chair Mike White and Councilmembers Gladys C. Baisa, Stacy Crivello, Don Couch and Don S. Guzman. Councilmembers Elle Cochran, Robert Carroll and Michael P. Victorino were excused.

The resolution advances to the full council for consideration.