Local 5 ratifies contract with Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Local 5 ratifies contract with Hyatt Regency Waikiki

After three-year dispute, new contract provides thousands of dollars in back pay

Housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki place their contract ratification votes

Housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki place their contract ratification votes

Honolulu (August 15, 2013) – Earlier this week and by a 292-0 unanimous vote Local 5 workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki ratified their local contract resolving a longstanding dispute that began in 2010.

The new contract expires in 2018, and includes full back pay from 2010, increases in hourly wages, the maintenance of family health benefits and retiree pension, and greater job security for workers. It addresses the need for protecting good local jobs in an industry that has remained profitable, but where hundreds of jobs have been cut.  The new contract brings some subcontracted jobs back into the union and will require that remaining subcontracted cleaning workers be paid the union standard for wages. The Hyatt Regency Waikiki must also maintain a minimum number of staff in its accounting department.

Improvements to housekeeping workload, bus transit passes provided by the employer, and union construction language that requires the employer to use union workers for construction or renovation projects in excess of $2,000.00 were also agreed to.

Hyatt workers took numerous actions over the past three years, including strikes and a global boycott.

Maria Teresa Del Mundo, Hyatt Regency Waikiki housekeeper for 7 years

Maria Teresa Del Mundo, Hyatt Regency Waikiki housekeeper for 7 years

“We are one union and we did it because we weren’t afraid to fight together. I’m happy we have our job security, and we can build a future for our families,” says Maria Teresa Del Mundo, a housekeeper who has been working at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki for seven years.

A key provision of the national agreement between UNITE HERE International Union and Hyatt Hotels is a “solidarity clause,” which would allow union workers to take action at their own hotels if non-union Hyatt hotels in other cities have not recognized the union or agreed to a fair process for employees to decide whether to have union representation by October 2015.

The ratification of contracts by union Hyatt workers in San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Chicago will trigger the end of the global boycott of Hyatt. With the agreement, 5,000 unionized Hyatt workers nationwide will have a contract for the first time since 2009. Local Hyatt boycotts in several U.S. cities will continue where labor disputes with Hyatt remain unresolved.

Local 5 represents approximately 10,000 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.

# # #

Modern Honolulu: Your Contract – More than just wages & benefits

The Union contract is more than just wages and benefits–it’s also about respect and dignity on the job. Below are just a few key provisions:

Click here to view PDF leaflet

Click here to view PDF leaflet

If you’re interested in more details or would like to see a copy of the management and/or Union’s proposals, please contact Erlinda Sanchez or Juliana Alcaraz at (808)941-2141.

Modern Honolulu: Yes to Fairness!

More than 2 years ago, the workers at Modern Honolulu (then Edition) came together and chose to be a part of UNITE HERE! Local 5. We wanted a Local 5 contract so that our wage increases, job security, vacation/sick leave benefits, and free family medical coverage were guaranteed by a written contract. We deserve the benefits and the respect that come with a Union contract—we will not be divided!!

2013.07.23 Modern Committee Leaflet

Click here for PDF leaflet

If you’re interested in more details or would like to see a copy of the management and/or Union’s proposals, please contact Erlinda Sanchez or Julianna Alcaraz at (808) 941-2141.

UNITE HERE and Hyatt Reach National Agreement

For Immediate Release
July 1, 2013
Jeff Nelson, UNITE HERE
(617) 480-2585
Farley Kern, Hyatt Hotels
(312) 780-5506

UNITE HERE and Hyatt Reach National Agreement

Pact provides contracts and process for workers to join union, ends global Hyatt boycott

CHICAGO (July 1, 2013)—Today Hyatt Hotels Corporation and UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada, announced a national agreement that resolves longstanding disputes between the two organizations. The agreement creates a framework for the company and the union to work together moving forward. Both UNITE HERE and Hyatt hailed the pact as a positive step.

The agreement will go into effect upon the settlement and ratification of union contracts by Hyatt associates in San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Pending associate approval, the contracts will provide retroactive wage increases and maintain quality health care and pension benefits. The proposed new contracts would cover associates into 2018.

A key provision of the agreement establishes a fair process, which includes a mechanism for employees at a number of Hyatt hotels to vote on whether they wish to be represented by UNITE HERE. As part of the accord, upon ratification of the union contracts, UNITE HERE will end its global boycott of Hyatt.

D. Taylor, the president of UNITE HERE, said, “We look forward to a new collaborative relationship with Hyatt. This agreement shows that when workers across the hotel industry stand together, they can move forward, even in a tough economy. Both organizations deserve credit for working out this constructive step forward.”

“We are delighted that our associates in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Waikiki will have contracts and the pay raises that go with them,” said Doug Patrick, Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Hyatt.

See more here.

AiKea, I Vote!

Dozens of AiKea supporters wave signs in support for Ron Menor for Honolulu City Council

Dozens of AiKea supporters wave signs in support for Ron Menor for Honolulu City Council

Late last year, Local 5 set an ambitious goal to win three electoral races and kick off a political movement in Hawaii to put control of the state back into the hands of working people, and wrest it away from the corporate powers that dominate decision-making at so many levels throughout the US.

To accomplish this, Local 5 began a comprehensive program to bring its core strength – its rank and file committees – into the political process. Early in 2012, Local 5 committee members organized a series of “town hall” meetings that brought rank and file leaders together with progressive community activists to share and build consensus on key issues – ranging from schools and education to public transportation to water quality, the depletion of fishing resources, and of course, jobs and employment. This program culminated in a mass conference of community and union activists in mid-May to formally launch the “AiKea” movement.

“AiKea” comes from the recognition by the leaders of Local 5 that they needed a name for their movement that appealed to an audience beyond the Union–one that would strike a chord and project hope for change. In the last few years, a street phrase has become popular in Hawaii–a phrase that translated people’s discouragement and disenchantment into fake “Hawaiianized” language. “Ainokea”, when read with Hawaiian pronunciation, sounds “eye-no-kay-ah”, or local pidgin pronunciation for the English words “I no care.” Local 5 decided to turn this phrase around, so it would reflect hope and determination, not discouragement and apathy. That’s how “AiKea” was born.

Focused on three electoral districts, the Local 5 PAC invited candidates seeking the union’s endorsement to participate in a panel discussion before 200 union delegates. This level of participation by union members built both enthusiasm for and commitment to the candidates the union committee chose to endorse.

With a firm relationship in place between Local 5 members and candidates whose values truly reflect those of our members, the union mapped out the neighborhoods and voter turnout goals that were necessary to achieve victory. For two months, Local 5 members and other community activists canvassed these areas, to identify voters and challenge head-on the sense of disempowerment that many voters felt. The message canvassers delivered was a clear departure from the usual get-out-the-vote: working people win respect by building real power, and do so by voting together as part of a movement.

Election night in August proved that all the hours and all the hard work were worth it, as union-supported candidates came out on top in all three races. Now Local 5 is looking forward both toward the November election, but also to the exciting and challenging work of building true organization in the community and challenging workplace leaders to step further into community and political leadership roles.

APEC poses greater threats than traffic nightmares for Hawaiians

Behind closed doors a policy is being devised that could raise medicine prices, drive down our wages, ban job-creating Buy America policies, undermine financial regulations aimed at controlling the banks that wrecked our economy while exposing Hawaiian Ceded Lands and environmental policies to challenge.

It is called the Trans-Pacific Free “Trade” Agreement. Negotiations include the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, and Singapore. But the deal is intended to be open for others to join, including Japan, Indonesia, Russia and more.

A dirty secret of today’s “trade” pacts is that they are not mainly about traditional trade matters, like tariffs. Rather, they require countries to conform domestic policies to hundreds of pages of one-size-fits all international non-trade rules written in a closed door processes involving hundreds of corporations with the rest of  us are locked out. This includes 600-plus official U.S.corporate trade advisors. Congresspeople, Hawaii’s Governor and state legislators, journalists and we people whose lives will be most affected cannot see what our negotiators are bargaining for — and bargaining away — until a deal is done and it is too late for changes.

Countries that fail to change their laws to meet these “trade” pact requirements are slammed with indefinite trade sanctions or cash damages. Just in past months, theU.S.was ordered to eliminate the dolphin-safe label on tuna cans and our anti-teenage smoking ban on flavored cigarettes. After trade sanctions on $2.3 billion ofU.S.trade, we just allowed entry for trucks from Mexico that don’t meet U.S.safety or environmental standards.

We will hear from the usual corporate sources that another “trade” agreement could expand exports. But the data is clear: our export growth rate to the countries we have these deals with is half of that to those we do not. And, we have lost lots of jobs thanks to the major trade deficit we suffer with the bloc of 14 previous Free Trade Agreement countries.

Thus, whether and under what terms a Trans-Pacific “trade” deal is done will affect the types of jobs available in our communities; whether the rapacious global banks that have seized control of Hawaii’s hotels can be made to pay their workers well; and whether Hawaii will be able to diversify its economy to provide jobs for more people. That’s because the proposed agreement would impose constraints on national and Hawaiian service sector, investment, and financial policy.

Also at stake is whether Hawaii will be able to free itself from dependence on imported oil and instead develop its potential for solar, wind and other renewables and the existence of strong consumer and food safety protections. The agreement will impose limits on energy policy and safety and inspection standards for fish, fruits, meat and more.

American’s worst job-offshoring corporations, major global banks, agribusiness, and pharmaceutical giants want this Trans-Pacific deal to be like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the first pact focused on undoing our basic public interest protections under the false brand of “trade” agreements. Labor, environmental, anti-poverty, family farm, and other advocates have demanded a “Fair Deal or No Deal.”

It is not looking good.U.S.negotiators are pushing the corporate line, insisting that the notorious NAFTA “investor-state” enforcement system by included. This empowers corporations to skirt our courts and go to World Bank and UN foreign tribunals to challenge our domestic policies and demand taxpayer compensation if they think our laws undermine their “expected future profits.”Hawaii’s land-use policies would be at special risk. Under NAFTA, over $350 million has been paid out to corporations over attacks on zoning, toxics bans, and more.

U.S.negotiators also are pushing new privileges for pharmaceuticals industry giants that would jack up medicine prices. This includes new rights for them to attack “drug formularies,” the cost-savings programs used by the U.S. Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration – and Australia,New Zealand and other nations. If the U.S.proposal is adopted,Hawaii and other states would have to pay for expensive new drugs Big PhRMA develops even if they provide no new benefits to patients.

And, that is what we know. Trans-Pacific FTA talks have taken place behind closed doors, and no draft texts have been formally released. A recent text leak revealed that U.S.officials signed a special deal not only to keep all documents secret, but to do so for four years after talks end! Civil society groups in the involved countries have launched an international “release the text” campaign to extract the draft  texts. Those requests have not been met.

This extreme secrecy only makes us all wonder: just what all is being agreed to behind closed doors at APEC that cannot withstand public scrutiny.