FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2018
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Hyatt Centric Waikiki workers vote yes to unionize
Local 5 scores biggest NLRB union election win in decades
Honolulu, HI – Hotel workers at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach Hotel voted to join the 11,000 member strong UNITE HERE Local 5. Today’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election results cover 65 workers in the housekeeping, maintenance, front desk, and food & beverage departments.
This NLRB election victory is one of many UNITE HERE campaigns nationwide to organize non-union workers who want to unionize. 48% of hospitality workers in Waikiki are non-union, making $4 to $6 an hour less than union workers and with little to no job security.
The Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is a 230-room boutique hotel on the corner of Kuhio and Seaside Avenues and opened in December 2016. It was reported by Pacific Business News last November that the hotel is up for sale.
With uncertainty of the hotel’s sale looming, major issues for the workers include job security, fairness in scheduling, and having a voice on the job.
“I’ve worked eight years in the hotel industry and I voted to unionize for security reasons. I have three kids, and I wanted security for them in the future. With a union, my coworkers and I will have a voice,” says Renante Abastas, a cook at The Lanai in the Hyatt Centric Waikiki.
“I’ve been working in housekeeping at the Hyatt Centric since Day 1. I voted to unionize because I want to be protected against unfair treatment. By voting yes for the union, we sent a strong message of unity. We hope that Hyatt Centric Waikiki management will respect the workers’ decision and schedule contract negotiations as soon as possible,” says Lady Anne Tapac, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki.
In 2017, a total of 360 non-union workers in the hospitality, health care, and food service industries successfully organized to join Local 5. Nationwide, UNITE HERE organized over 13,000 non-union workers last year. Despite negative national speculation about the future of the labor movement and the looming threat of anti-union policies, these election victories show that workers understand and want unions.
As non-union workers organize to join the union’s ranks, union contracts for over 10,000 Local 5 members expire this year, starting June 30.
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 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.
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