HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Many people on the Big Island of Hawaii are bracing for major upheaval if lava from Mauna Loa volcano slides across a key highway and blocks the quickest route connecting two sides of the island.
UNITE HERE Local 5 believes all people should have quality health care and the right to control their own bodies. The recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is an attack on working people and the first in a likely series of decisions intended to bolster the power of the few to the detriment of the many. For Local 5, access to abortion is about workers having control over our personal and economic futures. And it matters to all of us as workers and union members because when they attack one of us, they attack all of us. We make this statement with a deep respect for persons of all faiths and a deep respect for the blessing of life.
For Local 5, reproductive freedom is one of many rights inherent to the dignity of the working class that also includes quality healthcare, access to a good education, a voice on the job, living wages, affordable and safe homes, and time off to enjoy our lives. We know the only way we can win these things is if we stand up for one another and remain united.
In this November’s election we, as workers, face both a threat and an opportunity. In response, our Union will make thousands of calls and visits to voters in swing states like Arizona and Nevada. To take an active part in this effort to protect our democracy and to defend ourselves against decisions like Dobbs, contact Local 5 and consider joining our ranks in this vital work.
UNITEHERE! Local 5
For Immediate Release for July 9, 2021
Bryant de Venecia
Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024
UNITE HERE Local 5 reached tentative agreement with Hilton, affecting 1,800 hotel workers
New two-year agreement includes improved wages and benefits, recall rights, reinstatement of daily room cleaning and other hotel services, and more.
Click here for photos from previous actions
(Honolulu, Hawaii) – After months of negotiations between Hilton and UNITE HERE Local 5, both parties have reached an agreement for a two-year contract impacting roughly 1,800 hotel workers at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Hilton Hawaiian Village workers will vote to ratify agreement over the next weeks.
Eric Gill, Financial Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 5 shared, “We are proud to announce a breakthrough in our two-year campaign to defend Hawaii’s hotel service standards.”
Today’s agreement means that daily cleaning of guest rooms will be resumed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, securing hundreds of housekeeping jobs and restoring a key element of quality guest service.
Mariaane Codiamat, a Hilton Hawaiian Village housekeeper for 34 years shared, “Since the pandemic started, daily room cleaning is one of the services that these big hotel companies cut off. Hilton was no exception. Housekeeping is the largest department in most hotels, so cutting back this service affects the jobs of thousands of housekeepers. We did countless actions, petitions, rallies, delegations, we also asked our government leaders to help us get our jobs back. Today, finally, we are victorious.”
Hilton has also agreed to significant increased contributions to bolster the Union’s Health and Welfare Fund reserves, and enough money for generous increases in wages and pension contributions. When hotels workers were furloughed in 2020, thousands were at risk of losing their health care coverage. UNITE HERE Local 5 stepped in and extended the coverage for thousands of union members, affecting the Union’s health and welfare reserves.
Gill continues, “We have reached this excellent two-year agreement with Hilton that addresses the most critical issues facing hotel workers as tourism recovers from the pandemic. Local 5 was able to reach this agreement because of the militancy and strong organization of Hilton workers, and because Local 5 participated in coordinated bargaining efforts over the past two years with 15 other local unions and our international union.”
The collective bargaining agreement between UNITE HERE Local 5 and the big hotel companies—Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott/Kyo-ya—expired June 30, 2022. The Union will resume negotiations with the other hotel companies in hopes that they will reach an agreement based on the package that the Union achieved with Hilton.
Local 5 represents approximately 10,500 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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Contract negotiations are underway between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the state’s largest hospitality worker union.
As tourism continues to recover in Hawaiʻi, the state’s largest hospitality worker union is demanding hotels bring more of their employees back full time. (Read more)
UNITEHERE! Local 5
Press Release for April 14, 2022
Bryant de Venecia
UNITE HERE Local 5 Members joined Day of Action to demand the return of jobs and hotel services
Hundreds of Local 5 members rallied in Waikiki, joining 16 other cities in U.S. and Canada, to push hotel companies to bring back hotel services and jobs for hospitality workers
(Honolulu) – UNITE HERE Local 5 members joined 14 UNITE HERE locals in 16 cities across U.S. and Canada on a Day of Action. Workers rallied to shed light on hotels’ failure to bring back the workforce despite the hospitality industry’s recovery.
As visitors flood the streets of Waikiki and tourist spots return to their pre-pandemic traffic, hospitality workers are asking hotel companies why their full-time hours are not back and their coworkers are yet to return to their previous positions.
Workers called, “Full resort services now!” Despite average daily hotel rates rising up to 120%, many hotel amenities are not offered including automatic daily room cleaning, in-room dining, food and beverage outlets, banquets, and more—preventing thousands of workers from getting their full-time hours back.
Luz Rieza, a housekeeper at Hilton Hawaiian Village shared, “Hilton’s CEO Chris Nassetta earned more than $24 million in 2021, while the workers at Hilton Hawaiian Village—their most valuable property—struggled to make rent and put food on the table. We were furloughed for months and the company never offered any support, not even a single cent.”
Mary Taboniar, another housekeeper at Hilton added, “During the pandemic when occupancy was low, workers were left behind without any safety nets. We had to look for other jobs to survive. Now that tourism is booming again, these hotel companies are demanding that we prioritize them when it’s clear they are not prioritizing us. Hotels only give us 2 days of work a week. That’s not enough to survive.”
Eric Gill, UNITE HERE Local 5 Financial Secretary-Treasurer said, “At Local 5, we continue to build a better community for everyone, and we continue to struggle to improve Hawaii peoples’ lives. Our 2018 strike for “One Job Should Be Enough” addressed the multiple jobs our people must hold in order to make a living amid Hawaii’s high costs. We won historic gains. We are making progress.”
Last week, the Union won tentative agreements with Queen Kapiolani Hotel and Waikiki Resort Hotel, allowing workers whose contracts expired in 2018 to catch up with the Waikiki standard on wages and benefits. Contracts between Local 5 and big hotel properties like Hilton, Marriott/Kyoya, and Hyatt are set to expire on June 30, 2022.
“The global corporations that own and operate our hotels don’t care about improving our lives,” Gill added. “Corporations care about profit. Using the pandemic as their excuse, they have eliminated thousands of hotel jobs. Hotel profits are at record levels and Hawaii workers are paying the price.
“This is a terrible idea for Hawaii tourism. What Hawaii needs is more good union jobs for workers to provide the top-quality services that attract the visitors we want to come. The future of Hawaii tourism is at stake—will tourism serve the needs of Hawaii, or are we all to be just impoverished servants to tourists? Will it be the bright future we want, or the dark future our corporate bosses are trying to force on us?”
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Local 5 represents approximately 12,000 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 300,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.