Editorial: Time to rethink impact of REITs

Unite Here Local 5 members were protesting at the state Capitol that the hotels where they work get a benefit from the tax code while many of its members, the hotel workers themselves, have not been called back since the pandemic shut down tourism.

Hawaii hotel workers rally for bill to eliminate tax exemption

Honolulu – Unionized hotel workers Thursday demonstrated outside the state Capitol to support a bill that would eliminate a tax exemption for some companies that own hotels and other commercial real estate in Hawaii. (Read more…)

UNITE HERE Local 5 Members Hold National Day of Action Shining Light on “Shadow Bosses” Driving Cuts to Services in the Hospitality Industry

UNITEHERE! Local 5

Press Release for January 27, 2022

 

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

(808) 546-0024

[email protected]

 

UNITE HERE Local 5 Members Hold National Day of Action Shining Light on “Shadow Bosses” Driving Cuts to Services in the Hospitality Industry

With Events in 22 Cities including Honolulu and Kona, UNITE HERE Calls to Close Hotel Owners’ Tax Loophole, End Job Cuts

 

(Honolulu) – Hotel workers across the U.S. organized a National Day of Action on Thursday to shine a light on the “shadow boss” hotel owners they say are driving cuts to jobs and services in the hospitality industry. UNITE HERE Local 5, Hawaii’s hospitality and healthcare workers’ union joined 20 cities nationwide calling on major hotel owners called REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) to stop pushing for job cuts. Workers are also asking leaders in DC to close the tax loophole that enables REITs to avoid paying taxes on billions paid to investors.

In November of 2021, Park Hotels – the Hilton hotels REIT – listed operating priorities for a “permanent reduction of full-time, hotel-level staffing” including “contactless check-in/room service,” “limit housekeeping,” and “eliminate or re-purpose unprofitable F&B operations.” “We do think that given the crisis, and you don’t want to let any crisis go to waste, we have been working hard and working with our operating partners and also talking with the union about opportunities to rightsize that [operating] model,” said Thomas Baltimore, the CEO of Park Hotels, in a 4th quarter 2020 earnings call. That same year, as hotel workers faced unemployment and cuts to their jobs, Park tripled Baltimore’s pay.

“Even with high occupancy, there’s no automatic daily room cleaning and we are understaffed,” said Ruby Rubina, a housekeeper at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, HI. “There are nights when we could not clean all the dirty vacant rooms, we had no choice but to leave some for the workers to clean the next morning. The overworked housekeepers are unable keep up. These changes hurt all of us. Park Hotels & Resorts owns over 70% of the guest rooms at Hilton Hawaiian Village—it’s one of their highest-earning properties. Yet, they are letting workers suffer while hundreds are still waiting to have their jobs back.”

A key issue is the elimination of daily housekeeping and sanitation as an industry standard, which UNITE HERE estimates would cut up to 180,000 U.S. housekeeping jobs primarily held by women of color. In a recent arbitration hearing between UNITE HERE Local 5 and Hyatt Regency Waikiki, the Arbitrator determined that the hotel’s policy to eliminate automatic daily room cleaning for the majority of its guests violates the Union’s collective bargaining agreement with the hotel. The decision orders Hyatt Regency Waikiki to cease and desist and to reinstate automatic daily guest room cleaning. Local 5 hopes that this victory against Hyatt Regency Waikiki sets a precedent with the rest of the Union’s hotel employers to follow—particulary the Hilton, Marriott, and Kyo-ya—to bring back automatic daily room cleaning and all the affected workers laid off during the pandemic.

The National Day of Action is the Union’s first major event of the new year. The collective bargaining agreements between UNITE HERE Local 5 and its major hotel employers—Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Kyo-ya—will expire in the summer of 2022. Union members continue the fight to keep the good jobs in Hawaii’s largest industry.

 

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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.

 

For Immediate Release: UNITE HERE Local 5 members at Kaiser Permanente voted to ratify a new contract with 97% YES votes

UNITEHERE! Local 5

For Immediate Release for December 6, 2021

 

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

UNITE HERE Local 5 members at Kaiser Permanente voted to ratify a new contract with 97% YES votes

After averting a potentially historic strike, nearly 2,000 Hawaii health care workers ratified a new contract

 

(Hawaii) –Nearly 2,000 UNITE HERE Local 5 members ratified a new four-year agreement with Kaiser Permanente, securing industry-leading wages and benefits, as well as staffing improvements. Workers voted overwhelmingly, with 97% “Yes” votes.

Last November 13, 2021, Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract, covering nearly 50,000 Kaiser Permanente health care employees in 22 local unions­—including UNITE HERE Local 5. The new contract includes new staffing language to  improve employee workloads and patient care, annual wage increases, and career development and advancement opportunities. Today’s contract ratification ensures Kaiser Permanente patients continue to receive safe, high-quality care and service; maintain Alliance union members’ industry-leading wages and benefits; and ensure Kaiser Permanente remains affordable for its members in the future.

Kori Kim from Kaiser Permanente Patient Financial Services shared, “I’m happy that we settled this great contract. Stopping Kaiser’s two-tier wage proposal was important to me because it impacts us directly as well as future employees. I’m so moved witnessing this unity and solidarity—the committee worked so hard to reach all members and all Local 5 stood together to do the strike vote and to ratify a new contract. This victory is well-deserved!”

The new contract includes:

  • Wage increases: Guaranteed across-the-board wage increases each year through 2025 in every region for all Alliance-represented employees.
  • Retirement benefits: The Agreement maintains generous retirement income benefits and employer-subsidized retiree medical.
  • Bonus opportunities: Introduction of the Alliance Bonus Plan, which provides annual payouts for achieving new mutually-agreed-upon objectives to address affordability.
  • New safe staffing and workload language: Will ensure every Kaiser Permanente patient receives extraordinary care every time and in every place.
  • Opportunities for career growth: Alliance-represented employees will continue to have excellent career development and advancement opportunities.

On top of the victories in our national contract, Local 5 won significant reductions on health care costs for Hawaii members. Effective January 1, 2022, Local 5 members at Kaiser Permanente will have the advantage of reduced cost for co-pays, prescription charges, out-of-pocket maximums, and more.

The new 4-year collective bargaining agreement is effective November 1, 2021. UNITE HERE Local 5 represents roughly 2,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente. Local 5 is a part of the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which represents over 50,000 members across hundreds of job classifications in nearly every geographic area where Kaiser Permanente has a presence.

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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For Immediate Release: Strike Averted, Tentative Agreement Reached Between Alliance Unions and Kaiser Permanente

UNITEHERE! Local 5

For Immediate Release for November 14, 2021

Media Contact:

Bryant de Venecia

Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024

[email protected]

 

Strike averted, Tentative Agreement Reached Between Alliance Unions and Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract, covering nearly 50,000 Kaiser Permanente health care employees in 22 local unions, including UNITE HERE Local 5

 

(Honolulu) – On Saturday, November 13, 2021, Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract, covering nearly 50,000 Kaiser Permanente health care employees in 22 local unions­—including UNITE HERE Local 5—and strengthening the Labor Management Partnership.

The agreement includes new staffing language to continue to protect employees and patients, annual wage increases, and maintains benefits while providing career development and advancement opportunities for Alliance union-represented employees. When ratified, the agreement will ensure Kaiser Permanente patients continue to receive safe, high-quality care and service; maintain Alliance union members’ industry-leading wages and benefits; and ensure Kaiser Permanente remains affordable for its members in the future.

Fred Dagdag, a Licensed Practical Nurse at Kaiser Permanente Maui Lani clinic shared, “It’s a proud moment right now. This campaign is a modern-day tale of David vs. Goliath. Union alliances and healthcare workers across the country united in solidarity made all this possible. We are grateful for the overwhelming support from other unions, our patients, the community, and even our U.S. Senate. We did it!”

Maile Hamada from Kaiser Permanente Patient Financial Services said, “This victory is a result of years of organizing to ensure that when the time comes, Kaiser Permanente workers in Hawaii will be ready to join the fight. We are happy to achieve a tentative agreement that secures good wages and addresses staffing concerns, without sacrificing the future of our health care workers. This is for all of us.”

Details of the tentative agreement include: 

  • Wage increases: Guaranteed across-the-board wage increases each year through 2025 in every region for all Alliance-represented employees.
  • Health benefits: No reductions or takeaways to already low-cost family medical and dental coverage with the same low co-pays for prescriptions and office visits
  • Retirement benefits: The Agreement maintains generous retirement income benefits and employer-subsidized retiree medical.
  • Bonus opportunities: Introduction of the Alliance Bonus Plan, which provides annual payouts for achieving new mutually-agreed-upon objectives to address affordability.
  • New safe staffing and workload language: Will ensure every Kaiser Permanente patient receives extraordinary care every time and in every place.
  • Opportunities for career growth: Alliance-represented employees will continue to have excellent career development and advancement opportunities.

UNITE HERE Local 5 also secured victory with our local bargaining, which includes significant reduction on out-of-pocket costs for health care services for Kaiser workers in Hawaii and improved language against subcontracting.

The tentative agreement was approved by members of the economic subcommittee of the Alliance of Health Care Unions and will now go to the full common issues committee (CIC) and then union members for ratification. Voting on the tentative agreement will occur over the next several weeks. If ratified, the agreement will have an effective date of October 1, 2021.

In light of this, the Alliance unions have canceled their strike notifications. Local 5 Kaiser Permanente workers in Hawaii will not go on strike on November 22nd.

Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance unions have a longstanding history of successful bargaining to collaboratively address mutual interests of all parties. “This landmark agreement positions Kaiser Permanente for a successful future focused on providing high-quality health care that is affordable and accessible for our more than 12 million members and the communities we serve. It also underscores our unwavering commitment to our employees by maintaining industry-leading wages and benefits,” said Christian Meisner, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Kaiser Permanente. “These were challenging negotiations, but this tentative agreement demonstrates the strength of our Labor Management Partnership and the unique success it can achieve when we work together.”

 

About the Alliance of Health Care Unions

The Alliance of Health Care Unions includes locals of AFSCME (UNAC/UHCP), UFCW, USW (Steelworkers), IBT (Teamsters), the Kaiser Permanente Registered Nurse Anesthetists, IUOE, AFT (OFNHP), UNITE HERE, ILWU, and HNHP. The member unions share a deep commitment to providing the highest-quality patient care and service at Kaiser Permanente. We work to improve community health through higher living standards, and keep Kaiser Permanente the best place to work. Alliance workers are in every Kaiser Permanente service regions: 34,000 workers in Southern California; 1,350 in Northern California; 6,300 in Oregon and Washington; 2,100 in Colorado; 2,300 in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia; 3,000 in Georgia; and 1,900 in Hawaii. For more information, go to: ahcunions.org.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.

 

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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