HGEA defends Hannemann endorsement

There’s apparently some dissension in the HGEA ranks about the union’s endorsement of Mufi Hannemann over Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor.

In an unusual Aug. 30 letter to members, HGEA chief Randy Perreira said Hannemann and Abercrombie have both been good friends to the state’s largest public workers’ union, but that Hannemann gave more straightforward answers on issues of concern to the union — fixing the economy, support for collective bargaining, a better split on health benefits, protecting retirement benefits — during interviews with the board and political action committee.

“He articulated his vision for the future and pledged support to work with HGEA to address critical issues,” Perreira said, adding that Abercrombie at times didn’t respond to questions and “lacked specifics for how he felt Hawai‘i should move forward.”

“I realize that this endorsement of Mr. Hannemann has not been universally accepted by our members,” Perreira said. “To those members, I ask they consider our endorsements in their proper context, which takes into account what issues are most important to public employees.”

John Radcliffe, a lobbyist and union advocate working on the Abercrombie campaign, said in an e-mail to campaign staff that the letter clearly signals the union is split.

“In the 44 years that I have been involved with unions and politics, I have never seen a letter sent by a union leader to the rank and file in the middle of a campaign,  that had to ‘explain’ why this candidate was chosen over that one, and pleading that the members put their personal choices and desires aside to support the chosen candidate,” Radcliffe said.

“The fact that Randy felt he had no choice other than to send out this letter, using the rather weak argument that Mufi spoke more clearly in his support of the union’s ‘core issues’ than did Neil, is prima facie evidence, if it was needed, that the HGEA rank and file is not happy with the decision — and is split.”

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20 Comments on “HGEA defends Hannemann endorsement”

  1. hipoli Says:

    Why is it wrong that he decided to do this?

    Maybe Randy was just being honest?

    I think Randy did a good thing, talking to members like people who are actually paying attention.

  2. Whoops Says:

    Kinda like when the rank and file weren’t all that thrilled with the disastrous 2001 tearchers’ and university professors’ strike that Radcliffe helped instigate and lead into stalemate. Go figure.

  3. TantrumThrower Says:

    Whatevers…someone should just do like Mufi and start a new organization called HGEA–the Hawaii Government Employees for Abercrombie–that would then endorse Abercrombie. Because that’s what any reasonable person who wants to be Governor and wants to show that they have the most executive experience should do. NOT!

  4. charles Says:

    Is there ever a time when any organization made up of diverse interests and individuals aren’t split?

  5. jayz43 Says:

    Rumor has it Abercrombie missed getting that endorsement by just one vote.

  6. kailuaresident Says:

    Randy wrote that Mufi has more prepared and gave better answers. That pretty much sums up the entire campaign…

  7. Michael Says:

    Who says a HGEA member has to vote for the candidate the union endorses? How do the unions know if a member voted for or against the candidate the union supports? If they do find out, HOW? A leak? I thought voting was private.

    If I don’t agree with who the union endorsed, I will vote who I think is best. I don’t need to be in a union who tells me I have to vote for who who!

    HGEAI is just another form of BOI, DOI, etc. Do we need more who do less? Your money! We need an audit! Said that money goes in but nothing of good comes out. Where is the money?

  8. ppcc Says:

    Yes Michael, the voting procedure stills allows union members to vote in private away from the prying eyes of union bosses. However, I heard a few years back during an election cycle that HGEA rank and file members would get a call from someone stating that they were doing a random survey on how voters of the household would vote. In reality it was a union plant, calling to see how a particular member of the union would vote under the guise that they were doing an independent survey! I don’t know if this is true but given how dirty special interest are trying to get their “chosen” candidates elected, I would not be surprised if this is true. The moral of the story if someone calls you on the phone saying they are doing an anonymous phone survey for house memebers and how they will vote in an upcoming election, refuse to answer the survey!!

    Given that HSTA & UHPA have endorsed Neil, guarantee if Mufi becomes Gov, when comes time to pay the outstanding rail bills for maintenance and construction, besides the hike in the GET, Mufi will never forget their “disloyalty” to him and guarantee will divert the most money away from DOE and UH. Actually that makes sense since between the two of these depts. they make up well over 50%(?) of the entire State budget. That is why Mufi is demanding that an audit be done with the DOE & UH so as to provide him legitimate cover when he reduces funds to these departments citing waste in these depts (which Mufi is right). In that case rank and file AUW, HGEA, UPW, etc members are better off with Neil and they know it. Any non-construction, non-teaching union employees in City or State are expendable when compared to the rail project. It is clear many rank and file members of these unions feel their union leaders have made a pact with the Devil who will sell them out first chance he gets. Given the stakes of the rail project and past history of someone who does NOT keep his word or campaign promises, they SHOULD be worried and disregard their union leaders endorsements.

  9. Nikki Heat Says:

    If all you Mufi-haters are right about Mufi & Friends following the old Frank Fasi mantra (help your friends, screw your enemies), then the unions did the smart thing by endorsing Mufi. If Mufi loses the primary, what the hey, bygones, no harm, no foul with Neil (brah, you were my second choice for the prom, really). But if they, like HSTA and UHPA (still owed the end of the six year contract pay raises negotiated by the current Gov?) had gone with Neil and Mufi won, well then Mufi might not have taken kindly to those unions. So hurrah to Randy and Dayton for showing wisdom and leadership in endorsing the candidate most likely to harm their membership if he wins without them.

  10. ppcc Says:

    from Nikki Heat:
    “So hurrah to Randy and Dayton for showing wisdom and leadership in endorsing the candidate most likely to harm their membership if he wins without them.”

    I think what you describe is called caving in to a bully….But what if some rank and file union members are so ignorant and clueless, that they cannot comprehend their union bosses strategy as you described and actually blindly vote for Mufi because their leaders told them to, in essence causing Neil to lose to Mufi in a close race?!

  11. jayz43 Says:

    Your exposé in the SA (Hannemann’s tactics take the hit-and-run route) appears to be attracting a lot of interest with readers.

    With the SA suppression of opposing views and the blatant political pandering for Hannemann, you are a breath of fresh air. Mahalo.

  12. Michael Says:

    ppcc: Thanks.
    1984, Big Brother is watching you.
    They may even know what kind of soap we are using.
    They even know what we are commenting and our replies.
    Search Engines for websites can show what we had for breakfast. Nothing is private.

    You know what would have been a good debate for governor candidacy? Questions asked by Jeff Foxworthy. Questions a 5th grader would be asked.
    Are they Smarter than a 5th grader? If one wins,
    they get my vote. If one talks of improving Education, they best be able to back it up.
    BA or BS versus a Ph.d

  13. David Shapiro Says:

    @jayz43, Thanks much. Glad you liked my column. But in fairness to the S-A, they are entitled to make an endorsement and you can hardly accuse them of suppressing opposing views when they run commentaries like mine and Lee Cataluna’s yesterday. I don’t know the reason for turning off comments on their endorsement editorial, but judging from some of the comments on my column today — even ones that agreed with me — I suspect it was more about policing offensive name-calling and specious accusations than suppressing contrary views.

  14. Richard Gozinya Says:

    It’s a sad commentary that I often look to whom these mighty, mighty unions are endorsing and decide to vote the other way. It’s a waste of a vote since the union power is nigh on to unstoppable but at least I feel a bit like a crusader. I mean. look to how the organizations represented by these unions are performing and tell me, with a semblance of a straight fave, that their interest is the betterment of our State and not purely self.

  15. Doug Says:

    If the S-A editor (still) has a Sunday column explaining the nuts-and-bolts of his job (like Platte at the Advertiser did), then the process of deciding which stories/columns/editorials allow or do not allow comments would be an excellent topic.

  16. shaftalley Says:

    i reallydon’t think it matters who wins the state govenor race.hanemann,abercrombie,aiona,and even carroll.allof these candidates are for the most part,statists.yes these politicians from the left,right,center are still statists.they have a common devotion to the “STATE” that transcends any minor differences they may have in party “policies” and other nonsense they try to peddle to us voters.they all support bigger military budgets and military presence here in hawaii,they will allow the FBI more space for expansion of their police-state activities here and abroad,and continued welfare state.they will directly attack whatever personal and economical liberties we still have.whether it’s done by religion or secular,they will use the gov’t. to coercively impose their moral and political agenda on the citizens.what they and their political party in power believe is the “correct” moral principle.who needs that CRAP?

  17. line of flight Says:

    The unions backing Mufi are doing the “heads we win, tails we win”. If Neil wins, he supports labor. But if Mufi wins, Manoa will be the next Pearl Harbor.

  18. Kolea Says:


    I think they turned off comments on their endorsement editorial because they were getting creamed, not because the comments were ruder than normal.

    The reasoning in the endorsement was so vulnerable to ridicule that they got upset with us folks demolishing it. What’s the point of owning a newspaper if lowlife wisecrackers get to undermine your endorsements without having to spend a dime?

    To get back to the purpose of this posting, I think Randy looks good in comparison to the S_A. He has taken an unusual step to tell the membership he knows a lot of them are unhappy with the Mufi endorsement. By doing this, he validates the discontent. He knows that. He’s not stupid. But like Hipoli said, he’s treating the members like adults.

    Radcliffe has a lot more labor experience (and political) than I do, but I agree that I have never seen a labor leader take the approach Randy has taken.

    Brilliant, TantrumThrower!

    I REALLY like the “Hawaii Government Employees for Abercrombie” (HGEA) idea! I’ll see your bogus “Progressive Democrats for Hannemann (PDH)” endorsement and raise you an “HGEA” endorsement.

  19. Michael Says:

    One should practice what they preach.

  20. Michael Says:

    Talking about union endorsements. It shows a different picture when hannabusa and case were endorsed by unions and Djou won. Seems voters are not happy by unions telling them what to do and who to vote for.

    As some got their comments shut down for shoving their opinions down others throats and got reported for abusive behavior.

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