The state’s largest labor federation and three local chambers of commerce have announced their support of the $4.3 billion buyout of Hawaiian Electric Industries by Florida-based NextEra Energy.

The Hawaii State AFL-CIO passed a resolution backing the deal last week at its 26th biennial convention. And on Monday, the presidents of the Chinese, Korean and Filipino chambers of commerce of Hawaii declared their support.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission starts 12 days of trial-like hearings on the deal Nov. 30 at Blaisdell Center. A decision is not expected until next summer.

Staff and members of the state Public Utilities Commission listen to testimony, Sept. 4.
Staff and members of the state Public Utilities Commission listen to testimony on the proposed merger, Sept. 4. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Gov. David Ige’s administration and nearly all of the more than two dozen intervenors in the case have come out against the merger, saying it’s not in the public’s best interest.

Slowly but surely, utility company execs have started to win over union workers and business groups.

Damien Kim, business manager-financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1186, said in a statement that the union appreciates the support of the AFL-CIO and believes the merger will support workers and the general public. He noted NextEra’s commitment to save Hawaii customers $60 million over four years.

IBEW 1260 had opposed the merger but negotiated a deal with NextEra and subsequently withdrew as an intervening party in the case and announced its support.

Read more Civil Beat coverage of the merger case here.

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