Organizing Success in Hawaii
BAC Local 1 Hawaii members took the fight to the public with banners and fliers.
When BAC Local 1 Hawaii members learned that an unlicensed out-of-state contractor was hired to perform tile flooring work at Pearlridge Center in Aiea, HI, as part of the center’s $33 million renovation, they took their fight to the public.
More than two dozen members of BAC Local 1 HI chanted, “Local jobs, local contractors, and local workers!” while holding banners on a sidewalk outside Pearlridge Center on October 27th. Armed with the First Amendment and organizing skills, they also passed out fliers about the issue, answered residents’ questions, and accepted media’s interviews.
The state’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office later confirmed that this out-of-state contractor, Prime Flooring LLC, does not have a Hawaii contractor’s license. As this issue of BAC Journal goes to print, the case is being investigated. Meanwhile, the contractor has ceased working on the project, and a local company has been hired to continue the work.
BAC Local 1 HI President Jeff Ornellas told the local media, “Even though the contractor is now off the job, it shouldn’t be off the hook for violating the law.” Though the case in pending, fines in previous cases for breaking the licensing law have reached 40% of the contract’s value, according to the state’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office.
Mel Silva, Business Manager and Financial Secretary of BAC Local 1 HI, thanked the IU Organizing department for working with the Local. “We were able to take action right after identifying the issue. Thanks to our organizing training, we defended our market and protected our members’ jobs successfully.”
“From banners to flyers, our Local worked on the messaging and reinforced it through news media,” said BAC Director of Organizing Steve Nelms praising the Local’s success. “This is a great example of utilizing market defense tactics in organizing.”