Better days are ahead for Kaua’i carpenters

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.

Of the

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

locally.

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.

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