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READ: Why I'll Still Pay My Fair Share

June 28, 2018

My position as a Civil Rights Specialist with the Department of Public Safety is considered “excluded” from collective bargaining as a “confidential” employee. That means I’m not required by contract to join the union or pay dues.

Yet after being hired in 2014, I joined HGEA and began paying my fair share as soon as I was eligible — both in regular dues and in voluntary contributions to our PEOPLE political action fund. Why? Because I’ve studied labor economics and labor history and have worked in both the public and private sectors in Hawaii since high school in 1976, for both unionized and non-union employers.

I know how much better off Hawaii’s working families are when we pull together for the common good. That was true when our ancestors joined together to improve the slave-like conditions on the sugar and pineapple plantations, and it’s still true today.

Billionaires and right-wing politicians are joining together too — to bust our unions and change our laws in order to weaken our pay, slash our benefits, and undermine the job security that our families rely on for stability and peace of mind. That’s why having a strong union voice at work and in the political arena is even more critical today than it ever was. We need this unified voice to help preserve the quality of life of Hawaii’s working families, especially in these tough economic times when exorbitant housing costs threaten many families’ very existence here.

We need pay raises, not cuts. We need strong benefits, not the weak ones the big corporations and their bought-and-paid-for legislators want us to have. By paying my fair share for bargaining and representation, and by supporting our union’s efforts to hold politicians accountable to us, their constituents, I know that I’m doing my small part to make Hawaii a better place for us all…and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help.

Patrick “Rick” De Costa, MCEC Unit
Civil Rights Specialist, Department of Public Safety


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