UNITE HERE! Local 5
For immediate release: November 27, 2018
Cell Phone: (808) 333-4782
Cell Phone: (808) 221-2843
UNITE HERE Local 5 members approve historic contract
Photos and videos of the ratification vote and the last day of our picket lines can be downloaded here.
The contract includes hard-won gains: job security; reductions in subcontracting of staff positions; worker involvement in technology deployment; a child/elder fund; a reduction in workload for housekeepers; an increase in wages, an increase in pension contributions; and an increase in health and welfare contributions.
Job security is a key element of the new contract. “No matter how high your pay is or how great your benefits are, if there is no job security, those benefits will disappear if you lose your job,” housekeeper Jowenna Ellazar said.
Robotics are playing an increasing role in the hotel industry, from automated check-ins to R2-D2-like droids that ferry bags up to rooms. Rather than allowing the deployment of technology to be solely the purview of management, the new contract creates a framework for workers to be at the table.
“We want to have a handle on our future. This is an act of self-determination,” Royal Hawaiian front desk worker Jean Te’o-Gibney said.
With this phase of “One Job Should Be Enough” completed successfully, the union now turns its attention to how the principle applies to other hotel workers, other unions, and the broader community of working people.
“One job should be enough for all workers — for the hotel workers in Waikiki and Lahaina and also public school teachers from Hilo to Hanalei,” HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said. “All workers contribute to making our community special; we should be afforded respect and dignity.”
“People learned how to win on the lines – how to stand up for themselves, how to stand up for respect and dignity,” Royal Hawaiian hostess Janal Kaina said.
Marriott workers in Detroit, San Jose, San Diego, Oakland, and Boston were also on strike starting in early October, but ended their strikes after coming to agreements with management. Over 2,500 Marriott workers in San Francisco are still on strike.
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UNITE HERE Local 5 represents approximately 11,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 270,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.
As Local 5 members we are in control of the direction of this contract. We know what we need and make the decisions that are necessary to achieve our goals. Our fight shows that working people deserve a seat at the table, that we do have a voice, that we can lead, and that we will always fight for our fundamental rights.
Our goals are focused on job security, dignity, wages, and benefits. We seek achievement for ourselves and fight for progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions and aspirations affect the needs of thousands of other workers.
You are leading the way for working people in Hawaii. If our jobs—jobs in Hawaii’s largest industry—are not good jobs, then there is no real future for Hawaii’s working families. Because of our unity, we have seen tremendous progress through these negotiations. We should take pride in our unwavering dedication to this fight—a fight that moves our whole community forward. United we bargain, divided we beg.
Negotiations start at 10am. We will give updates to the lines as they come in. But let’s stay focused on keeping on our lines strong!
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “Letter: Working-class people deserve respect, too”
- KITV: “Local 5 strikers hold candlelight vigil before Monday’s negotiations”
- Hawaii News Now: “Strike negotiations between workers, hotel management to resume Monday”
Gary Hooser, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii spoke with Jason Ito and sent a follow-up letter requesting a meeting on behalf of an over-20 member coalition of Democratic Party leaders, Faith-Based leaders, Native Hawaiian Groups, Cultural and Civic Clubs, as well as student civic organizations affiliated with UH. “As stated, the purpose of this meeting would be for a statewide group of community leaders to express both our concerns and our willingness to help resolve the extended labor dispute between your company and UniteHere Local 5.” They are demanding to meet next week!
Starting with this Wednesday’s check and going forward, the weekly strike benefit will increase to $500.
Starting immediately, a NEW strike assistance committee is available to support you at the Strike HQ, 7 days a week, 10:30a-4:30p. Come learn what your options are to help get through the strike. Come see us—you may see some familiar faces—co-workers and an old friend Laura Moye.
Tomorrow, wear your red shirts! We’ll be doing Day 50 Shibuya @ Moana! At 10am in support of our negotiating team!!
- The Militant: “Marriott hotel workers strikes going strong, winning contracts”
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “Column: Book is reminder for equitable policies”
In the last bargaining, Kyo-ya walked away from the table without giving a response to the Union’s proposal as a test to see if we would break during Thanksgiving.
It turned into a holiday many of us will remember forever. We were blessed with beautiful weather, family and fellowship. Our beach Thanksgiving had chow fun, pancit, sushi, basmati rice, and every dessert you could think of along side turkey and stuffing. We served everybody: houseless folks, college students, locals, tourists, and strikers.
This is who we are—even as we struggle, we still give. So we passed their test. Now it is Kyo-ya who is being tested—tested to see if they can re-earn their reputation as a decent Employer and positive contributor to the community.
Yesterday, our community supporters from UFCW Local 480, Democratic Socialists of Honolulu, and more led a protest caroling action. We ended caroling in the lobby of the Sheraton Waikiki letting the guests know in the merriest way possible that the community stands with the workers.
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “Holiday meals are a means to share, care and socialize”