Sheraton Maui cook wins grievance for lead cook position

Jerson Gonzales has been a cook at Sheraton Maui for 7 years. He applied for a lead cook position and was passed up for someone with much less seniority.  The Union filed a grievance on behalf of Jerson and we won his case.  Jerson is now working as lead cook.

UNITE HERE Local 5 members approve historic contract


For immediate release: November 27, 2018

Media Contacts:

Paola Rodelas
Cell Phone: (808) 333-4782
[email protected]

Ikaika Hussey
Cell Phone: (808) 221-2843
[email protected]

UNITE HERE Local 5 members approve historic contract

Photos and videos of the ratification vote and the last day of our picket lines can be downloaded here.

(HONOLULU) – Local 5 members voted overwhelmingly today to ratify a historic contract for 2,700 workers at five Maui and Waikiki hotels.

The contract includes hard-won gains: job security; reductions in subcontracting of staff positions; worker involvement in technology deployment; a child/elder fund; a reduction in workload for housekeepers; an increase in wages, an increase in pension contributions; and an increase in health and welfare contributions.

Job security is a key element of the new contract. “No matter how high your pay is or how great your benefits are, if there is no job security, those benefits will disappear if you lose your job,” housekeeper Jowenna Ellazar said.

Robotics are playing an increasing role in the hotel industry, from automated check-ins to R2-D2-like droids that ferry bags up to rooms. Rather than allowing the deployment of technology to be solely the purview of management, the new contract creates a framework for workers to be at the table.

“We want to have a handle on our future. This is an act of self-determination,” Royal Hawaiian front desk worker Jean Te’o-Gibney said.

With this phase of “One Job Should Be Enough” completed successfully, the union now turns its attention to how the principle applies to other hotel workers, other unions, and the broader community of working people.

Collective bargaining agreements at a total of 20 UNITE HERE Local 5 properties expired at the end of June. And over 2,500 Marriott workers in San Francisco are still on strike.

“One job should be enough for all workers — for the hotel workers in Waikiki and Lahaina and also public school teachers from Hilo to Hanalei,” HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said. “All workers contribute to making our community special; we should be afforded respect and dignity.”

“People learned how to win on the lines – how to stand up for themselves, how to stand up for respect and dignity,” Royal Hawaiian hostess Janal Kaina said.

Marriott workers in Detroit, San Jose, San Diego, Oakland, and Boston were also on strike starting in early October, but ended their strikes after coming to agreements with management. Over 2,500 Marriott workers in San Francisco are still on strike.

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UNITE HERE Local 5 represents approximately 11,000 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 270,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit

Strike Bulletin: Day 50 bulletin

View PDF version of Marriott Strike Day 50 bulletin here.

View all photos from Marriott Strike Day 49.

50 Days Stronger!

As Local 5 members we are in control of the direction of this contract. We know what we need and make the decisions that are necessary to achieve our goals. Our fight shows that working people deserve a seat at the table, that we do have a voice, that we can lead, and that we will always fight for our fundamental rights.

Our goals are focused on job security, dignity, wages, and benefits. We seek achievement for ourselves and fight for progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions and aspirations affect the needs of thousands of other workers.

You are leading the way for working people in Hawaii. If our jobs—jobs in Hawaii’s largest industry—are not good jobs, then there is no real future for Hawaii’s working families. Because of our unity, we have seen tremendous progress through these negotiations. We should take pride in our unwavering dedication to this fight—a fight that moves our whole community forward. United we bargain, divided we beg.

Negotiations start at 10am. We will give updates to the lines as they come in. But let’s stay focused on keeping on our lines strong!

News coverage:

Marriott Strike: Day 49 bulletin

View PDF version of Marriott Strike Day 49 bulletin here.

View all photos from Marriott Strike Day 48.

Growing Community & Political Support.

Gary Hooser, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii spoke with Jason Ito and sent a follow-up letter requesting a meeting on behalf of an over-20 member coalition of Democratic Party leaders, Faith-Based leaders, Native Hawaiian Groups, Cultural and Civic Clubs, as well as student civic organizations affiliated with UH. “As stated, the purpose of this meeting would be for a statewide group of community leaders to express both our concerns and our willingness to help resolve the extended labor dispute between your company and UniteHere Local 5.” They are demanding to meet next week!

Strike Benefit:

Starting with this Wednesday’s check and going forward, the weekly strike benefit will increase to $500.

Strike Assistance:

Starting immediately, a NEW strike assistance committee is available to support you at the Strike HQ, 7 days a week, 10:30a-4:30p. Come learn what your options are to help get through the strike. Come see us—you may see some familiar faces—co-workers and an old friend Laura Moye.

Monday Action:

Tomorrow, wear your red shirts! We’ll be doing Day 50 Shibuya @ Moana! At 10am in support of our negotiating team!!

News coverage:

Marriott Strike: Day 48 bulletin

View PDF version of Marriott Strike Day 48 bulletin here.

View all photos from Marriott Strike Day 47.

The Holidays Are Here

In the last bargaining, Kyo-ya walked away from the table without giving a response to the Union’s proposal as a test to see if we would break during Thanksgiving.

It turned into a holiday many of us will remember forever. We were blessed with beautiful weather, family and fellowship. Our beach Thanksgiving had chow fun, pancit, sushi, basmati rice, and every dessert you could think of along side turkey and stuffing. We served everybody: houseless folks, college students, locals, tourists, and strikers.

This is who we are—even as we struggle, we still give. So we passed their test. Now it is Kyo-ya who is being tested—tested to see if they can re-earn their reputation as a decent Employer and positive contributor to the community.

Caroling action

Yesterday, our community supporters from UFCW Local 480, Democratic Socialists of Honolulu, and more led a protest caroling action. We ended caroling in the lobby of the Sheraton Waikiki letting the guests know in the merriest way possible that the community stands with the workers.

News coverage:

Marriott Strike: Day 47 bulletin

View PDF version of Marriott Strike Day 47 bulletin here.

View all photos from Marriott Strike Day 46.

Thanksgiving Feast:

Our Thanksgiving feasts in Waikiki and Maui were a huge success! Strikers feasted on turkey, lechon baboy (roast pig), side dishes, and desserts. Thanks to our Local 5 cooks who cooked and prepared the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more. Thanks to everyone who helped serve the food.

Thank you to everyone who brought a dish to share. Thanks to community supporters for donating food for our Thanksgiving feasts.

“I am thankful for the camaraderie, everybody stepping up, and not leaving each other behind.” — Pat Ongjoco, Sheraton Waikiki cook.

Get the “One Job” logo printed on your old shirts:

For Black Friday today, UH students will be at The Moana Surfrider to offer free screen printing of shirts. Bring a blank cotton shirt with you to the Moana Surfrider picket line today from 1pm-3pm if you want the “One Job Should Be Enough” logo screen printed on your shirt.

News coverage: