2020 Primary Election Endorsements

The Hawaii Primary Election is on Saturday, August 8. Starting this year, Hawaii votes by mail and all voters will automatically receive their ballot in the mail 18 days prior to each election.

See our Local 5 Primary Election Endorsements below. We are continuing to deliberate on some races and will update this list of any new endorsements are made. (last updated: 7/10/20):

Congressional District 1 Ed Case
Congressional District 2 Kai Kahele
Senate District 13 (Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown) Karl Rhoads
House District 11 (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) Tina Wildberger
House District 13 (Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini) Walter Ritte
House District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki) Becky Gardner
House District 26 (McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako, Downtown) Kim Coco Iwamoto
House District 41 (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe) Matt LoPresti
House District 46 (Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley) Amy Perruso
House District 48 (Kaneohe, Kahaluu, Waiahole) Kau’i Pratt-Aquino
House District 51 (Kailua, Waimanalo) Lisa Marten
Honolulu Council District 1 (Portions of Ewa Villages and Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Makakilo, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nankuli, Ma’ili, Waianae, Makaha, Kea’au, Makua) Makana Paris
Honolulu Council District 3 (Ahuimau, Heeia, Haiku, Kaneohe, Maunawili, Kailua, Olomana, Enchanted Lake, and Waimanalo) Alan Texeira
Honolulu Council District 5 (Kaimuki, Palolo Valley, St. Louis Heights, Manoa, Moiliili, McCully, and portions of Ala Moana, Kakaako, and Makiki.) Calvin Say
Honolulu Council District 7 (Kalihi, lwilei, Kalihi Kai, Mapunapuna, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Hickam, Foster Village, Ford Island, and Sand Island.) Radiant Cordero

Thu. 7/9 COVID-19 Update

New Resource:

If your child was getting free or reduced-price school lunch during the school year, you are eligible for food purchasing assistance. It’s a one-time payment of up to $360 per child. The Hawai’i Department of Human Services will automatically send benefits to eligible households—you do not need to apply! Read this flyer for more info: {{https://www.unitehere5.org/wp-content/uploads/P-EBT-outreach-flyer-6-30-20.pdf}}


News Updates:

Hawaii health department to shut down restaurants and bars flouting coronavirus precautions – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii health inspectors will begin shutting down restaurants and bars that do not adhere to rules meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health Food Safety Branch will issue red placards, temporarily suspending the operations of restaurants, bars and other eateries that do not comply with rules that include physical distancing and the wearing of masks. Under state law, health inspectors can temporarily close food establishments that pose a danger to public health.

Gov. David Ige and the state’s mayors will meet again to decide whether to lift the 14-day travel quarantine – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii officials are still grappling over whether to proceed with reopening tourism on Aug. 1, as coronavirus infections continue to climb.

After a marathon meeting Wednesday, Gov. David Ige, the county mayors and health officials will reconvene today to make a final determination on lifting the 14-day self-quarantine restriction that has largely kept tourists from visiting the islands.

Hiring outlook remains dim, with ‘scarring in the economy’ – The New York Times

– Excerpt: “A wide range of indicators recently have suggested that the economic rebound is losing momentum in states where virus cases are rising quickly.”

Supreme Court Says Trump Can Roll Back Access to Birth Control Under the Affordable Care Act – The Intercept

– Lourdes Rivera, senior vice president of U.S. programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said: “Today’s ruling has given bosses the power to dictate how their employees can and cannot use their health insurance — allowing them to intrude into their employees’ private decisions based on whatever personal beliefs their employers happen to hold.”

– Excerpt: “Access to birth control reduces the number of unintended pregnancies and encourages birth spacing, which leads to better outcomes for mothers and babies. Birth control promotes gender and racial equality and is linked to greater educational attainment and increased earnings for women.”



Thu. 7/2/20: COVID-19 update


Dozens of UNITE HERE Local 5 hospitality workers, non-union hotel workers, and community supporters sign-waved and chanted to protest the job cuts at reopening hotels. View the photos on our Facebook page.


Hospitality workers protest job cuts as hotels plan to reopen – KITV

Excerpt: “UNITE HERE Local 5 says some hotels are permanently laying off workers and asking them to reapply for their jobs once they reopen, so hospitality workers, non-union hotel workers and other community members are waiving signs and chanting Thursday afternoon.”

The Cash Cliff Is Coming, And It’s Trouble For Everyone – Reuters.

This article features Judith and Jose Ramirez from the Sheraton Waikiki.

Excerpt: “Judith Ramirez is bracing for July. That’s when the hotel housekeeper and her electrician husband ― who have both been out of work for three months ― expect their combined unemployment benefits to drop by more than half, and their deferred $1,500 monthly mortgage payment on their Honolulu home to come due. It’s a cash cliff millions of Americans face this summer as the emergency benefits ― which lifted U.S. consumer incomes by a record 10.8% in April ― expire.”

Coronavirus cases are rising in 40 of 50 U.S. states – Associated Press

Excerpt: “The number of confirmed coronavirus cases per day in the U.S. climbed to an all-time high of more than 50,000 today.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces mandate to wear face coverings indoors –  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Excerpt: “Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced an amendment to Honolulu’s emergency order that mandates face coverings for indoor businesses and government buildings, as well as outdoors, where physical distancing is not practicable.”

UH Releases Plan For ‘Unprecedented Semester’ – Honolulu Civil Beat. 

Excerpt: “UH is working to partner with local hotels to provide places for students arriving in the fall to spend their 14-day quarantine if on-campus spaces are unavailable. There are no contracts in place yet, Lassner said.”

Opinion: The role of labour activism in Vietnam’s coronavirus success – By Joe Buckley, published in Equal Times. 

Vietnam has had 334 cases of COVID-19 total. The U.S. had over 2,800,000 cases and over 50,000 yesterday alone. Workers have in several cases done wildcat strikes over safety concerns and won things like adequate PPE, testing and compensation.

The Trump Administration Wants Workers to Foot the Bill for Going Back to Work – Jacobin. 

Excerpt: “Many businesses want their workers to be screened for the virus before returning to workplaces, where they could unknowingly spread the disease to coworkers and customers. But thanks to a new Trump administration guidance, if businesses do require their employees to undergo coronavirus tests before being rehired, employers or their employees — not health insurers — could end up paying for it.

Airbnb to enforce TVR listings – The Garden Island. 

Airbnb appears to be agreeing to do something on Kauai that they have said for years they either couldn’t or wouldn’t do anywhere ever – collect address information from hosts and turn it over to county enforcement agencies.

COVID Cases (today’s cases compared to June 28, 2020)

World: Cases:  10.8M (+500k). Deaths: 520k (+15k).

USA: Cases: 2.73M (+140k).  Deaths: 128k (+2k).

Hawaii: Cases: 946(+46).  Deaths: 18 (+0).  Hospitalized: 116 (+5). Recovered: 746 (+24)

Mon. 6/29/20: COVID-19 update


We posted a new resource on our Local 5 webpage: Any persons receiving SNAP (Food Stamps/EBT) benefits are eligible to receive 50% of locally grown produce at participating grocery stores when they present DA BUX card.

Most current SNAP holders should have automatically received a Double Up Food Bucks card in the mail sent by DHS. If you have not, please contact Latonya Smith at (808)201-3937 x 14. Click here for the flyer.


Union expresses concern about hotel worker safety (KITV, June 28 2020)

Excerpt: “Unite Here Local 5 claims it has reached out to several major hotels asking to be part of the discussion about new safety policies regarding COIVD-19 but says only one agreed to discuss.”

Union organizes mass COVID-19 testing for hospitality workers, it calls on employers to follow suit (KHON 2, June 25, 2020)

Excerpt: “The union leaders of Unite Here Local Five said they are stepping-up where hotel employers are not, they are organizing mass COVID-19 testing for hospitality workers and their families this Saturday [June 27, 2020] in anticipation of tourism reopening.”

Interviews with Union Leaders: Gemma Weinstein, Union President, Unite Here Local 5 (Hawaii Business Magazine, June 29, 2020)

Excerpt from Local 5 President Gemma Weinstein’s interview with Hawaii Business Magazine: “In the process of reopening our hospitality industry, the state should be involved in enforcing the health and safety protocols and holding our employers accountable in keeping our state COVID-free. Workers shouldn’t have to choose between health and wealth. Workers can have these both only if government and employers will do the right thing. Test, Test, Test.”

Vacant Waikiki building slated to be a Marriott timeshare trades for $75M (Pacific business News, June 29, 2020)

A delayed news article on the ownership of the Nike town building slated to become a 110-unit Marriott timeshare.   Reports that Athos Capital Partners is the current owner.  No building permits have been filed yet, according to the article.

AirBnB: New rules in place to help regulate Kaua’i short-term rentals (KITV, June 29, 2020)

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, rental hosts without a valid Tax Map Key (TMK) will be removed from the AirBnB platform. Hosts will have to input a TMK number on the listing page to appear on the website. Kaua’i allows short-term rentals in designated areas. The new agreement is said to make it easier for the county to keep track of listings outside of those areas.

The plan for testing visitors is still murky, but bookings are already coming in (Hawaii News Now, June 29, 2020)

The article gives zero background on visitor bookings, except to say that “visitors are booking vacations to Hawaii in August.”

Unemployment office changes call center hours while new issues delay payments (Hawaii News Now, June 29, 2020)

Blocks of time will now be used to make outgoing calls from the UI office. No incoming calls are allowed during those times.

State Teachers Union, DOE Agree To Reopening Terms (Civil Beat, June 29, 2020)

Social distancing, hand washing, and face masks in the classrooms/schools among other rules are included in this agreement.

American joins United in plans to fill planes to capacity (ABC, News 6/28/20)

American and United will start filling their planes with no social distancing gaps in seating starting July 1st, as the U.S. has just reached record number of COVID cases. Other airlines will maintain their seating caps for some time longer. There will be some policies for flyers to avoid crowded flights if possible.

COVID Cases (since June 28, 2020)

World: Cases:  10.3M (+200k). Deaths: 505k (+4k).

USA: Cases: 2.59M (+90k).  Deaths: 126k (+300).

Hawaii: Cases:  900(+1).  Deaths: 18 (+0).  Hospitalized: 111 (+0). Recovered: 722 (+3)

Mon. 6/22/20: COVID-19 update


Last Friday, we hosted a worker-centered Mayoral Forum with six candidates of the Honolulu Mayoral Race. They were asked questions about issues that impact Hawaii’s working families. If you missed it live, you can still watch the recording here.


Gov. David Ige reportedly close to announcing testing protocol, loosened quarantine (Star Adv. 6/22/20)

“Gov. David Ige’s administration is poised to adopt a COVID-19 testing protocol similar to one being used by Alaska, and is expected to announce as early as this week that at least some travelers will be allowed to bypass Hawaii’s two-week quarantine requirement this summer if they provide proof of a recent negative test for the new coronavirus.

Anderson said about one-third of travelers to Alaska have been providing proof of a recent test, and about one-third agree to be tested at the airport and isolate until they receive the test results. The rest of the travelers simply agree to remain in quarantine for two weeks, he said.”

Honolulu City Council takes aim at new regulations against monster homes (Hawaii News Now, 6/22/20)

“Even after the city passed a law regulating monster homes last year, some say the problem still persists. They have introduced a measure that would make it a crime for anyone who builds a home that does not comply with the restrictive deed covenants.  That bill targets foreign investors, who have built a large number of monster homes in Hawaii.”

Extra $100 weekly payments for unemployed individuals could be on the way (6/22/20)

“Extra weekly payments of $100 for residents on unemployment could be on the way starting August 1st. House and Senate leaders plan to set aside $230 million in Federal CARES Act money to give extra assistance to an estimated 117,000 unemployed individuals across the state.

The plan also sets $100 million aside to help more than 34,000 households pay their rents. Lawmakers say the state’s most “financially vulnerable” households will receive rental assistance in the form of a $500 monthly subsidy or 50% of rent for up to five months from August 1 to December 31.”

How 12 Teens Who’d Never Met Before Organized Honolulu’s Black Lives Matter Protest (Civil Beat, 6/22/20)

The 10,000-person strong Black Lives Matter march was organized by some Radford High School students. It mentions some support from other organizations like Coronacare Hawaii and Ikaika Hussey, who assisted the students as an individual but a member from Unite Here Local 5.

Half of US states see coronavirus surge as officials warn first wave far from over (Guardian, 6/22/20)

“I don’t think we’re going to see one, two and three waves. I think we’re going to just see one very, very difficult forest fire of cases.”

After Weeks Of No New Cases Of COVID-19 In New Zealand, 2 Arrivals Test Positive (NPR, June 19, 2020)

New Zealand did a great job containing the virus and recently went 24 days with no active cases in the county, until two travelers entered without testing and quarantine on a funeral exemption were later found to be COVID positive.

LIST: Bars, gyms among facilities allowed to reopen on Oahu on Friday (Hawaii News Now, June 19, 2020)

  • Bars are allowed to reopen, but live music is being prohibited for now.
  • Fitness facilities, including gyms, spas, yoga, dance studios, hula halau and other similar fitness centers can resume operations
  • Education and care facilities can reopen.
  • Indoor attractions such as bowling alleys, arcades, movie theatres, museums are allowed to reopen.
  • Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people in one group, regardless of households, are now allowed. However, indoor events of more than 50 people are still not allowed in one venue.
  • Outdoor organized team sports can resume for practice only. Games will be allowed in July.

Caldwell Pulls Plug On Sherwood Forest Project (Civil Beat, June 19, 2020)

Protestors get big win in Waimanalo, defeating a stupid sports complex redevelopment of Sherwood Forest.

Amendments to a plan could create 400-foot towers at Ala Moana Center (Star Advertiser, June 19, 2020)

The publicly traded owner of Ala Moana Mall wants to build five towers of 400 feet each on the mall property fronting Ala Moana Beach Park, this could include condo-tels. The whole council committee that held this hearing expressed concerns and deferred the decision.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases:  9.0M (+400k). Deaths: 471k (+22k).

USA: Cases: 2.31M (+90k).  Deaths: 120.4 (+1.3k).

Hawaii: Cases:  816 (+27).  Deaths: 17 (+0).  Hospitalized: 99 (+3). Recovered: 669 (+27)

Thu. 6/18/20: COVID-19 update


Our next Facebook Live will be a worker-centered Mayoral Forum tomorrow (Fri. 6/19), 7pm-8:30pm. Candidates of the Honolulu Mayoral Race will be asked questions about issues that impact Hawaii’s working families. Watch it live and ask your questions: http://facebook.com/uniteherehawaii/live.


‘Dreamers’ cheer US court ruling on young immigrants’ protections – Al Jazeera

Excerpt: “With a 5-4 vote, judges blocked the Trump administration’s bid to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a programme that shields hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.”

Growing COVID-19 Cluster at Oahu Nursing Home Sets Off Warning Signs – Honolulu Civil Beat

The article mentions how workers having multiple jobs, especially in multiple health care facilities, is a risk in spreading the pandemic—another reason why one job should be enough. According to KHON, there are now a total of 12 cases of COVID-19 at Hale Nani: 8 residents and 4 workers.

Reports: Thousands More Likely To Soon Suffer Severe Financial Hardship In Hawaii – Honolulu Civil Beat

Excerpt: “But the organization [Aloha United Way] predicts that some 225,000 Hawaii households could find themselves in precarious financial straits by the end of 2020, and those lucky enough to be working still struggling to make ends meet, with little financial cushion.”

As 45 million lost their jobs over the last three months, US billionaires grew $584 billion richer – Salon.com

Excerpt: “Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison—the five wealthiest billionaires in the U.S.—saw their collective riches grow by $101.7 billion between March 18 and June 17, according to the new report. A dozen other American billionaires saw their wealth more than double during that same period.”

Excerpt: “Frank Clemente, ATF executive director, said in a statement that over the past three months, ‘about 600 billionaires increased their wealth by far more than the nation’s governors say their states need in fiscal assistance to keep delivering services to 330 million residents.'”

Even with ruling, workplace still unequal for LGBTQ workers – Associated Press

Excerpt: “For instance, the federal law doesn’t protect those who work at businesses with fewer than 15 workers. It doesn’t address bathrooms for transgender people. And it’s still an open question whether employers can fire an LGBTQ person for religious reasons.”

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 8.4M (+300k). Deaths: 453k (+12k).

USA: Cases: 2.18M (+50k).  Deaths: 118.4k (+1.5k).

Hawaii: Cases: 762 (+18).  Deaths: 17 (+0).  Hospitalized: 95 (+3). Recovered: 640 (+3)