Lawmakers May Call Special Session To Aid Maui Hospital Workers

Photo: AHL Design

The Hawaii Legislature may convene a special session next week. The goal: Save a bill intended to help public employees at three Maui hospitals. Those employees risk losing their jobs in the privatization of those hospitals.

Gov. David Ige identified Senate Bill 2077 as one of nine measures he may veto by the Tuesday deadline.

That bill calls for providing $40 million to hospital employees, with the option of receiving either severance benefits or a special retirement benefit in lieu of exercising any reduction-in-force rights.

It also would add hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s unfunded liability for pensions and benefits.

If signed into law, it would apply to 1,400 unionized workers at the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation‘s Maui Region hospitals: Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital.

Supporters of SB 2077 say it is intended to help workers who face excessive economic hardship due to the privatization of the hospitals and hand-over to Kaiser Permanente.

But Ige said last month that he’s concerned the measure is “too generous,” that it could impact the transition of the hospitals from public to private and that it could set a bad precedent. 

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