Airport Food Service Workers Strike Seeking Higher Pay, Affordable Health Care

(Honolulu – Over 500 employees of HMSHost Honolulu, the food service company at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, went on strike on Thursday for higher wages and better health care coverage.

UNITE HERE Local 5 HMSHost HNL Airport Workers On Strike

Press Release for December 19, 2019
Media Contact:
Bryant de Venecia
Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024 
UNITE HERE Local 5 HMSHost HNL Airport Workers On Strike
Local 5 workers at HMSHost Honolulu go on strike to demand One Job Should Be Enough!
Honolulu – Over 500 UNITE HERE Local 5 members at HMSHost Honolulu—workers at the concessions, restaurants, Starbucks, bars, pantry, maintenance, etc.—are on strike. This is the first time that HMSHost workers have gone on strike in Hawai’i.
The recent contract negotiations on December 10th and 11th saw little movement from HMSHost, prompting the workers to move the campaign forward by walking out of their workplaces and joining the picket lines. Workers overwhelmingly voted in November to authorize a strike with a 99% yes vote. Workers demand the company provide livable wages and to be covered by the Union health and welfare plan (under the Union’s medical plan, hotel and healthcare workers pay $0 for full family coverage).
Carol Madrid-Tagle, a server at PGA Tour Grill for 20 years, shares “My husband and I both work at HMSHost. We love our jobs but we’re on strike because we deserve good wages and free union healthcare. For years, my husband worked two jobs, yet we still cannot afford a place big enough for our family. This fight is about getting what we need from companies like HMSHost that make billions off of our hard work.”
The collective bargaining agreement between HMSHost Honolulu and Local 5 expired in December 2018. The contract covers over 500 workers at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The workers serve nearly 10 million visitors in Hawai’i each year, making them an integral part of Hawai`i’s hospitality industry. HMSHost is “the world’s largest provider of food and beverage services for travelers.” While the company boasts an annual sale of 3.5 billion dollars[1], HMSHost employees in Hawai`i struggle to make ends meet.
Airport workers demand that One Job Should Be Enough in the sector that contributes significantly to Hawai`i’s largest industry. UNITE HERE Local 5 is encouraging Hawai`i residents, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing the establishments impacted by the labor dispute. Visit our website for a full list of establishments to avoid:
Local 5 represents approximately 11,500 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 300,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit

HMS Host HNL: Going back to work after Strike

What you need to know:

  1. Q: What do I do when the strike ends?

A: Celebrate with your coworkers about pulling off a successful strike action and building our power as a union! Then report to work for your next scheduled shift and clock in as you normally do.


  1. Q: What if I am scheduled to work during the time the strike ends?

A: Report back to work at the time the strike ends and work the remainder of your shift, unless managers tell you otherwise.


  1. Q: Can management retaliate against me for striking?

A: No. Management cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for participating in union activity, including a strike action.


  1. Q: What should I do if managers are treating us differently?

A: Our solidarity with one another is our most powerful tool! Stick together, be proud of what we accomplished, and demand respect from the managers when we go back to work. Document anything they say or to do you that you feel is retaliation and report it to the Union. You can report it by talking to your committee leader and/or calling or texting your organizers Lisa (223-4292) or Ruby (954-9733).


  1. Q: How should I treat scabs?

A: We are legally allowed to call our coworkers who cross our picket line “scabs.” However, we cannot threaten or harass them – this can put you and the Union at risk. You can replace their name with the word “scab” but be sure to stay cordial and respectful.


  1. Q: Is our fight over?

A: No! We have to keep the pressure on the company now more than ever to win what we deserve in negotiations. We can always do another strike action! But for now, join us in our upcoming actions (including a rally on 1/16/20) leading up to our next negotiations during the week of January 20.


For any other questions or concerns, call or text your organizers Lisa (223-4292) and/or

Ruby (954-9733).

December 2019 – Victories Bulletin

One Job Should Be Enough!

Click here to view PDF version

Click here to view PDF Chinese version

Airline: National Day of Action

Two days before Thanksgiving, Dozens of airline catering workers at HNL joined thousands protesting at other airports throughout the U.S. on what is historically one of the busiest travel days of the year. This was, collectively, the largest worker-led demonstration at U.S. airports in years, with workers and supporters calling for American Airlines to address poverty wages and expensive health care.

This protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations by workers at U.S. airports, whose work is essential to airline operations. By bringing our message to the many passengers traveling before Thanksgiving, we hope to motivate American to resolve the labor dispute ASAP!

United Airlines and HMSHost HNL Strike Vote

United Airlines Catering Workers around the nation voted OVERWHELMINGLY in favor to strike when lawful. Newark 100%, Houston 100%, Denver 99.6%, Honolulu 100%. We made it clear: we deserve Equality, Safety, and Respect right now. We can’t wait!






HMS Host Honolulu Workers voted with a 99% YES vote to authorize a strike if one is called. We voted ‘Yes’ to get the wages and union medical we deserve, and to get closer to making One Job Enough for all Hawai’i workers! Stay tuned for more updates and for next steps as we continue to build our strike readiness!





Citizenship Workshop

Local 5 facilitated another Citizenship Workshop in collaboration with The Legal Clinic, William S Richardson School of Law, Pacific Gateway Center, and many more. Since 2018, we have helped over 250 legal permanent residents start their process towards citizenship!




Dues Increase Vote

Members of Local 5 voted with 56% YES vote to raise their dues by $10 per month to make sure our Union has a strong strike fund and general fund. With these resources we will continue to have the power to win great contracts for our members, put significant resources into organizing more workers into the union, work to pass legislation to help all working people, and build alliances in the community. Our future became more secure and bright. Let’s go win!



KBC Negotiations Update

Workers at the Ka’anapali Beach Club on Maui had their first round of negotiations. Diamond Resorts proposed taking away union access, and workers’ right to leaflet on property. The workers, however, are strong, united, and ready to fight to get what they deserve! We won’t let Diamond Resorts set us back from the standards Local 5 won!



City teams up with immigrant advocates to encourage citizenship

(Honolulu, HI) – The city is partnering with a nonprofit and a union in an effort to get more immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Honolulu airport union workers rally for better wages and benefits

(Honolulu, HI) – At Hawaii’s main international airport in Honolulu, UNITE HERE Local 5 members at HMSHost Honolulu—workers at the concessions, restaurants, Starbucks, and bars in Daniel K. Inouye Airport—rallied today to show strength and unity as they demand the company make One Job Enough to live in Hawaii.