Letter: Saiki, House leave local workers worse off
Originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 29, 2019
Sid Goldstein, Kalihi
State House Speaker Scott Saiki’s song-and-dance routine was worthy of a Broadway show (“Raising Hawaii’s minimum wage not a black-and-white issue,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 27).
Saiki could have written two lines that synthesized his entire commentary: “The Chamber of Commerce, which funds my campaign, didn’t want me to pass a living minimum wage for the people of Hawaii. So I didn’t.”
Instead, Saiki made it sound as though slamming the door shut on a living minimum wage for Hawaii residents was somehow heroic.
“The House’s intent,” intoned Saiki, “was to preserve the guarantee of employee health care coverage as premiums increase.” What he left out was the fact that the law only covers those employed 20 hours a week or more. So anyone not working 20 hours a week in a given job now has the worst of both worlds — lower wages and no health care. Thousands of locals are working two and three jobs because of Saiki’s existing law.
Come 2020, the people of Hawaii will remember the cowardice of the House and take steps to change its membership. To start, an honest Speaker would be nice.