In 1943, as the war gained fury in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, thousands of Hawaii workers were “frozen” in their jobs by military government decree. The consensus was that Hawaii would face severe labor-management issues after the war. On the mainland, organized labor had attained unprecedented social, economic, and political clout. Meanwhile, in Hawaii only 12 companies had union contracts. That same year, representatives of 24 Hawaii firms met to discuss ways to promote orderly relations between employers and employees. The result: the Hawaii Employers Council was formed, with 70 Charter member companies signing its bylaws on August 18, 1943.
The following year, we launched Hawaii’s first general wage survey, and membership rose to 189 companies. By 1945, the Council had assisted in the negotiations of 117 labor agreements. By the end of the decade we were conducting human relations conferences on all major islands.
In the 1950’s growth of our research capabilities and services was significant and included numerous studies and publications. For the first time in the U.S., a private organization, HEC, joined with federal and local governments to conduct a study of wages in the community. In addition, HEC continued to expand its labor relations and personnel services.
In the decades that followed—which saw the enactment of new state labor laws that increased the cost of doing business and federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and later COBRA, the Americans with Disabilities and Family and Medical Leave Acts—the Council added and expanded services in employment law and regulations, HR Hotline, training and legislative analysis.
Today, our membership has climbed from 70 Charter members to over 800 companies. While we still focus on labor relations, the majority of members take advantage of the formidable assistance they receive from our Human Resources Consultants. This includes guidance on building employee performance, wage and hour laws, discrimination, harassment, termination, recordkeeping, job descriptions, employee handbooks, regulatory issues (EEOC, FMLA, FLSA, ADA, etc.), employee opinion and wage surveys, and federal and state postings. We continue to keep members informed of law changes, updates on employment issues that affect them, as well as Supreme Court decisions through our weekly News Digest. Members have access to the vast number of resources on our website and even further through our exclusive on-line subscription to CCH'S HRAnswersNow and BenefitsAnswersNow.
Our comprehensive supervisory development, human resources, and management training programs and free member briefings geared specifically to Hawaii employers continue to evolve as new laws and regulations are enacted and employment trends emerge.
For more than 70 years, HEC has stayed abreast of new and existing laws, court cases, and labor movements, providing unlimited advice and assistance to our members and saving them time and worry. As our membership and range of services continue to grow and improve, we hold fast to our commitment to provide our members with accurate and current information in a friendly, timely, and affordable manner.