The bad news is that there isn’t enough work for carpenters on Kaua’i right now
to go around. The good news is that one of these days – and the sooner the
better- there might be more carpentry work and not enough workers.
250 unionized carpenters here, nearly 100 were out of work as mid-September
approached. That’s not the best of indicators for the economic boom that gets
talked about in Hawai’i. And there’s an ironic twist: Some Kaua’i carpenters
are finding jobs on other islands that are short of carpenters, at the same
time that developers from Honolulu bring carpenters to Kaua’i for projects
here. The developers prefer their own crews to hiring Kaua’i carpenters,
despite union efforts here to get the off-island interests to hire
But the current downturn of the carpentry trade on Kaua’i appears
to be only temporary. Union officials are optimistic that projects waiting to
get started, including Coco Palms and Waiohai, will put Kaua’i carpenters to
work and even create a labor workforce shortage here that other parts of the
state already are experiencing. That kind of problem for the local economy
sounds a lot better than one in which willing workers wait for jobs.