Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) represents 24,000 city and state workers and another 19,000 retirees and associate members. HGEA is affiliated with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
According to the HGEA website,
"HGEA was started by Honolulu Board of Water Supply managerial employees in 1934 in response to a 10 percent pay cut. Initially non-partisan and non-political, it found it needed to be active in the political arena to survive. The HGEA became a key player in the "Democratic Revolution of 1954" and held a close alignment with the movers and shakers of Hawaii politics during the 1960s.
Gradually, the union came to realize that no amount of political muscle could guarantee government workers favorable treatment at the legislature.
That led HGEA to strongly support collective bargaining in the public sector. HGEA led the fight to change the Hawaii State Constitution during the 1968 Constitutional Convention to give collective bargaining rights to public employees.
In 1970, the state legislature passed the Hawaii Public Employment Collective Bargaining Law. Representative elections were held for the public sector's 13 bargaining units, with HGEA ultimately winning the right to represent seven units."
HGEA represents seven of the 13 collective bargaining units in Hawaii's state and county governments:
- Unit 2 - Supervisory employees in blue-collar positions
- Unit 3 - Non-supervisory employees in white-collar positions
- Unit 4 - Supervisory employees in white-collar positions
- Unit 6 - Educational officers
- Unit 8 - Administrative, professional and technical employees of the University of Hawaii and the community colleges
- Unit 9 - Registered professional nurses
- Unit 13 - Professional and scientific employees
HGEA's Executive Director since 1981 is Russell Okata.