State briefs for October 16

Union: Hundreds of airport workers to be laid off

HONOLULU — Hundreds of Hawaii airport concession, bar and restaurant workers are expected to be permanently laid off this week, according to a local union.

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The UNITE HERE Local 5 union said the workers facing layoffs are employed by HMSHost Corp., an airport subcontractor.

The layoffs are also expected to include pantry and maintenance workers at airports in Honolulu, Kahului and Lihue, the hospitality and health care union said.

HMSHost plans to lay off about 470 of 550 workers in Honolulu, 140 of 170 workers in Kahului and 52 of 60 workers in Lihue, the union said.

The state will allow HMSHost to permanently lay off nearly 85% of its workforce, totaling about 780 people at the three airports, the union said.

Maryland-based HMSHost did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

HMSHost issued notices in August to employees saying the company started furloughing workers in March because of the unprecedented decline in airport traffic resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said the furloughs would be converted to permanent layoffs if employees were not recalled by Thursday.

Report: Oahu consumer prices rise amid pandemic

HONOLULU — Prices have risen for most goods and services on Oahu since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new federal report.

The latest inflation report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated consumer prices for Honolulu have risen more than the national average this year.

Honolulu’s consumer price index is up 1.9% over 12 months through September compared with 1.4% nationally, the bureau said in the report released Tuesday tracking 87 major metropolitan areas.

The Oahu increase was driven largely by the cost of food and beverages, which was up 7.8%, the report said.

Honolulu’s food cost increase included a 9.6% hike for food at home and 5.2% more for food away from home.

Other increases included 1.9% for housing, 4.1% for education and communication and 4.9% for recreation.

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Prices decreased for three major necessities in the 12-month period. The price for electricity fell 11.3%, gas prices decreased 14.8% and the price for apparel decreased 5%.

A price change for medical care was not calculated.

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