Thousands of Hawaii workers left scrambling after losing federal unemployment benefits

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Around 35,000 people statewide lost federal unemployment benefits over the holiday weekend. Now, many of the state’s unemployed aren’t sure what they will do as the pandemic drags on. (Read more)

Hotel housekeepers to leaflet Waikiki beach encouraging daily room cleaning

Media Advisory for September 9, 2021

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

Hotel housekeepers to leaflet Waikiki beach encouraging daily room cleaning

Eliminating daily room cleaning means fewer housekeepers are brought back to work and tougher workloads for remaining housekeepers

WHAT: Hotel housekeepers pass out leaflets to hotel guests along Waikiki Beach to encourage them to request daily room cleaning

WHERE: Waikiki Beach, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue (near Kalakaua Ave. and Uluniu Ave.)

WHEN: Friday, September 10, 2021 (4:30pm – 5:30pm)

WHO: Dozens of UNITE HERE Local 5 hotel workers wearing red shirts and masks, socially distanced and passing out leaflets to hotel guests at the beach

WHY: Since many Hawaii hotels reopened in October 2020, the hotel industry has been cutting guest services so that fewer workers return to work. Daily room cleaning is an example of one guest service that has been eliminated, resulting in hundreds of Local 5 housekeepers not returning to work. Housekeepers who have returned to work are suffering from fatigue and stress because it is more difficult to clean a room that hasn’t been cleaned for several days, sometimes weeks.

As COVID cases increase and hotel occupancy plummets, housekeepers will be passing out leaflets to hotel guests along Waikiki Beach to encourage them to request daily room cleaning.

They also continue to urge state legislators and employers to do more to bring back guest services so that hospitality workers can get back to work safely. Other municipalities like San Francisco are mandating daily room cleaning at hotels.

In August, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint and notice of hearing against Hilton Hawaiian Village based on an unfair labor practice charge filed by UNITE HERE Local 5, alleging that the hotel  refused to provide the Union with documents backing up the hotels’ claim that eliminating daily room cleaning was partially due to guest preference.

Hotel guests have expressed on local and international news that they were “caught off guard by the lack of daily room cleaning” and frustrated that they have to do their own cleaning.

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 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

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Hotel Workers Union Concerned About Job Cuts and Tourism Slowdown

Travel bookings on the other side of this Labor Day holiday are said to be softening. September and October traditionally tend to be slower times in the visitor industry. And with COVID cases in the islands soaring, it is cause for concern for our economic recovery. Unite Here! Local Five is the union that represents a majority of hotel workers in Waikīkī and Kaiser Permanente. The Conversation spoke with Eric Gill, the union’s business manager, to discuss cut jobs and member concerns. Its members rallied over the Labor Day weekend. Its Kaiser Permanente members are currently negotiating a new working contract. Its current contract runs out at the end of September.

UNITEHERE! Local 5

Press release for September 6, 2021

 

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

 

On Labor Day, labor unions call on employers and state to help workers

Employers have been using the pandemic as an excuse to cut jobs and state lawmakers have done little to address this

Photos and Video:

[LINK TO FB LIVE VIDEO]

 

(Honolulu) – Hospitality and healthcare workers organized live and virtual actions to commemorate Labor Day. Dozens of workers statewide joined a Facebook Live event hosted by UNITE HERE Local 5. Around 25 Kaiser Permanente workers sign waved in front of Kaiser’s Honolulu clinic to call on Kaiser to invest in patient care and healthcare workers.

Labor Day is supposed to commemorate workers and the American labor movement. But since the onset of COVID-19, employers have been using the pandemic as an excuse to cut jobs and state lawmakers have done little to address this.

PEUC benefits expired on Labor Day, affecting thousands of Hawaii workers who are still furloughed and will now receive hundreds of dollars less per week from unemployment. State lawmakers also allowed the eviction moratorium to expire.

Union members expressed that they feel left behind in the pandemic and want to push state lawmakers and employers to take care of workers—especially as COVID cases increase, hotel occupancy plummets, and employers continue to use the pandemic to cut jobs.

Local 5 called on union members to email Governor David Ige, Speaker of the House Scott Saiki, and Senate President Ron Kouchi to ask them to fund additional unemployment benefits and release a detailed plan on how the State will take care of workers

They also called on the community to stand with Kaiser Permanente workers by signing a petition calling on Kaiser to invest in patient care and healthcare workers. The union contract for nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente workers represented by Local 5 expires on September 30, 2021.

Stephanie Meredith, a Ward Clerk at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Hospital shared, “We did a sign waving action in front of Honolulu clinic to push Kaiser Permanente. We need better staffing to support healthcare workers as we provide the best patient care, especially now as the COVID cases are hitting our communities hard and impacting our healthcare heroes even harder. We have members working long shifts for 10 days straight—that is unacceptable.”

Mary Taboniar, a housekeeper at Hilton Hawaiian Village and a single mother of two shared, “The federal unemployment benefits ends today and we’re not getting any hours from work. I called the unemployment office and they told me that the only option is to look for other jobs. But what other jobs are out there other than minimum wage? That’s not enough to provide for our families. It’s time for our state leaders to step up and support Hawaii workers.”

Local 5 members also celebrated being Hawaii’s Best Union six years in a row and Local 5’s active response to the pandemic, which included securing healthcare coverage, rental assistance, filing for unemployment, and much more.

 

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 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

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Reduced hours, layoffs and furloughs resume in Hawaii tourism as federal safety net disappears

A drop in visitor arrivals to Hawaii from the spread of the delta variant and COVID-19 containment measures is creating a new round of tourism sector layoffs, furloughs and reduced hours just as federal unemployment aid is ending. (read more)

Two anchors of COVID safety net ending, affecting millions

WASHINGTON — Mary Taboniar went 15 months without a paycheck, thanks to the COVID pandemic. A housekeeper at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort in Honolulu, the single mother of two saw her income completely vanish as the virus devastated the hospitality industry. (Read more)