TheStrike – Over at Last?

It could be. KITV and others are reporting that the Teamsters agreed to an OTS-proposed contract at 2 AM this morning. The contract was the company’s “final offer,” according to KHON2.

Details about the new contract are sketchy at this point. It’s believed that the new contract will last five years. Union negotiator Mel Kahele said that the new contract includes both pay hikes and pension increases. As quoted by KITV:

“I’m not going to go into detail, but it’s a hell of a lot more than what the company had three days ago,” Kahele said.

“It’s never enough money. Are we happy? Of course not. We’re not happy, but the people are going to make the decision. That’s where its at. They’re the people that kept it strong,” Teamster International Union Vice President Jim Santangelo said.

The union will hold a ratification vote on Saturday, from 9 to 5. If the vote succeeds, bus operations could resume by Monday or even Sunday. Until then, Teamsters will continue to walk the line.

Reactions to the possible settlement have been mixed. At TheBus’ Middle Street facility, passing motorists honked horns in support of the drivers. Others have pointed out that the Teamsters changed their minds about wage increases as the strike dragged on. Honolulu Weekly writer John Pritchett blames Mayor Jeremy Harris for expanding bus service without providing the necessary funds to do so.

So, what’s next? I don’t know. I probably will buy a pass for $40, despite the fact that it’s going to hurt my bottom line badly.

Out of all of this, there’s only one thing I really, really want: Santangelo to fly home. It’s clear to me that he doesn’t understand Hawai’i’s culture. (I’m not going to call it the Aloha Spirit for now, since it’s seen better days.)

Today is day 31.

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