All employees are entitled by federal law to organize as union members and press for better wages, benefits and working conditions. The employers generally push back. Most of the time, some accommodation is reached. When it isn’t, there likely will be a strike.

The nurses at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children say they have not been able to reach an accommodation with Pacific Health, the operator of that hospital.

But can those nurses justify striking in the middle of a pandemic that has recently thrust Hawaii into the ranks of states with some alarming infection numbers? Pacific Health says the nurses currently average $124,000 a year in salary alone. Another $40,000 in benefits such as medical coverage. That’s a pretty damn good salary and the company is offering another 5% over 3 years.

There are other issues touching on working conditions in these difficult days. Nurses are on the front lines of exposure to the virus. We should all appreciate that and applaud their professionalism. But a strike? Now? Unthinkable and certainly not something that will generate much public sympathy.

Back to the bargaining table, please!

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This photo below is of Tineimalo Adams, a leader of the Halawa Prison gang United Samoan Organization, with tentacles that reach deep into the outside community.. Finally tagged by the FBI Honolulu Office as leader of a large gang  doing drug trafficking,  beatings, in-prison assaults and even from-prison tax fraud. He was sentenced to 17 years at Halawa, where he has run his gang as if he was on the outside.

The feds say say the gang has grown to at least 1,000 members.

One of my regular Manoa column readers asked me how the Michael Miske gang operated so long with alleged drug trafficking, robberies, and murder. He’s right. It operated with seeming immunity for years before the FBI moved in and we got indictments for drug trafficking, tax fraud and bribery.

When I recently suggested that it seems somebody might have been “on the take” to allow the Miske gang to operate so long, new Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s chief of staff, Michael Formby, wrote the Ian Lind blog that my suggestion was “not helpful.”

So maybe he’d also say that  me pointing out that HPD and and state investigators allowing USO, the violent Samoan gang in prison and outside, to work so long without a peep until the feds intervened also is “not helpful.”  It would be “very helpful” if HPD had a better record of gang dismantling.

Check out the USO, Alema Leota and Nappy Pulawa sagas. These aren’t New York. These are us.

My 58 years of reporting and writing here informs me that in those 60s and 70s we turned a blind eye to what was happening with Alema Leota’s Samoan Gang, Earl Kim’s Koreans, and Pulawa and others of Hawaiian heritage. Miske and USO don’t give me any renewed confidence that HPD’s criminal intelligence unit has been doing much beyond helping the former chief convict a relative, fraudulently, of mailbox theft. And they even botched that one!


Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

12 replies on “This Is NOT The Time For A First-Responder Strike”

  1. Bob: Make NO mistake..nurses are NOT Teamsters or Dockworkers. The very LAST thing they want to do is strike. But more and more, as hospitals merge and become Corporate Monoliths (more interested in profits than care), nurses (and other health professionals) are being forced to take action because they are often disrespected and ignored by Medical Management. Pacific Health uses (and you picked up quickly) the typical “look how much they make” to try to win the PR battle. But money is not the key issue here. No, a strike is not the answer anyone wants. BUT, Pacific Health needs to go back to the bargaining table and address ALL of the nurses concerns. This would also be a great issue for our new Mayor to show his stuff by offering to help both sides with mediation and get this settled in a peaceful way.

  2. Formby’s statement is appalling. Has he been a party of the cover up over the years? Hasn’t SHOPO leadership been Samoan? How much investigative reporting on the subject was done by Hawaiian News Now while Blangiardi was manager?

    1. “Hasn’t SHOPO leadership been Samoan?”
      What point are you making here? Are you suggesting that because the leadership of a police union has included members or a certain ethnic group, there should be an assumption that the union has been inappropriately involved with criminals who are of the same ethnic group? If so, that logic seems very knee-jerk and appallingly racist. Really. Please explain.

      1. I sure hope that isn’t what she means, but I also fear that it is and it skirts awfully close to my barrier of ethnic slurs, ad hominem attacks, and flat-out falsehoods. I’ll keep a close eye on her future comment offerings. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    2. I don’t think as DTS director of Convresswoman Hanabusa’s chief of staff he was covering up gang activity. I think you would need more evidence than a snarky blog comment by him to make that accusation.

  3. Don’t forget, the former criminal intelligence unit also tailed the former medical examiner. That one was apparently successful; they determined his life was boringly mundane and that he had no involvement with illegal drugs.

    1. We should all be dismayed by deputy police chief John McCarthy’s statement during his appearance this week to explain the surveillance of the former medical examiner.
      He bemoaned the whistleblowers who have been complaining about low morale during Ballard’s tenure as well as journalists who have reported on their complaints.
      Yeah. We sure don’t want anybody complaining or journalists writing about any complaints, or about surveillance of Caldwell cabinet members, or gangs untouched, or Chief Ballard’s “cheat” on cadets’ exams, or all that overtime. Everybody just keep mum.

      1. We should also be dismayed by the Police Commission’s weak-kneed “examination” of this sequence of events, which absolutely smacks of abuse of power and lack of accountability of the Caldwell administration, the Police Department, and the Police Commission. It’s also very disappointing that no media outlets besides Civil Beat have picked up the story, despite it being discussed at a public hearing of a commission that should be watched very closely given its history of abject failure and possible corruption, and its close links to the new mayor — who has yet to demonstrate any serious commitment to transparency or police accountability.

  4. Oh really, Bob & SWJ, how stupid. Obviously there are a lot of connections in crime in Hawaii, and I’ve hit a cord from my citizen observation.. I point out the obvious that needs to be investigated. Israel pulls the anti- Semitic crap when people question their crimes against the Palestinians. I read your column for amusement in this non- social time.

    1. Patty, by noting that the police union has included Samoan leaders, what exactly is the “obvious” problem or situation you pointed out “that needs to be investigated”? Rather than provide a reasonable explanation, you seem to now be saying that “everybody knows how they are,” which only reinforces the suspicion that your comments are rooted in racist assumptions. Your repetitive broad-brush denunciations of Israel only reinforce these suspicions since your diatribes often go far beyond merely “questioning” what you see as crimes against Palestinians. You seem to be so certain of your enlightened moral purity that you fail to see how bigoted some of your comments appear to others, if not also how racist your views really are.

    2. Since none of us are Samoan how is that even remotely relevant. We are just saying you are prejudiced which means to pre judge. Isn’t that what you are doing??

  5. Bob, Patty has long shown serious prejudice in her comments. She is blatantly anti-semitic and anti-Israel and now we see how she thinks about Samoans. But it might be better to allow her rants because these kinds of people need to be exposed to the light.
    As for McCarthy, Ballard would be smart suggesting he needs immediate retirement. She has not been anywhere near the “breath of fresh air” so many hoped for. She needs to get with it, shake up her Command Structure, and start supporting the mostly good cops on HPD. But she also needs to forcefully change the “elitist” culture we see among some on the force, reminding them strongly that they need to show more respect and less “authority” when dealing with the public.

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