Modern Honolulu workers ratify first-ever Local 5 contract

Modern Honolulu workers celebrate after the official vote count is announced

Modern Honolulu workers celebrate after the official vote count is announced

Honolulu (September 26, 2013) – With a 101-12 vote, workers at The Modern Honolulu in Waikiki approved their first union contract with UNITE HERE! Local 5.

Effective October 1, 2013, the new contract addresses the need for protecting good, local jobs in an industry that has remained profitable, but where hundreds of jobs have been cut. It includes a successorship provision that secures workers’ jobs if The Modern Honolulu is sold to another company, or changes ownership or management. This is especially important for The Modern Honolulu workers, who have seen two management changes in the two years since it has been open.

The new contract also provides hourly wage increases, two added holidays, improved workload for housekeepers, and increased porterage for bell and valet staff.

“As someone who has worked in the industry for most of my adult life, I can tell you how important it is to have job security and guaranteed benefits,” says David Yamamoto, a bartender at The Modern Honolulu. Yamamoto has been working at the hotel since 2010 when it was still the Waikiki Edition and witnessed first-hand the workers’ struggles through these management changes.

“While this is a great victory for us, the fight isn’t over,” says Audrey Jordan-Gecain, a Modern Honolulu housekeeper, “Many hotel owners are converting hotel rooms into luxury condos and timeshares. This happened at the Ilikai next door. If this happens at the Modern, our contract won’t protect us.”

From 1964 to 2006, what is today known as The Modern Honolulu was known as the Yacht Harbor Tower of the Ilikai Hotel. In 2006, Brian Anderson bought the Ilikai and sold off the Yacht Harbor Tower to eRealty. Yacht Harbor Tower then closed for renovations, putting hundreds of workers out of work, until 2010 when it reopened as the Waikiki Edition. In 2011, its owner M Waikiki LLC (a subsidiary of eRealty) ousted Marriott International, Inc. as the hotel’s management company, hired Modern Management Services LLC, an affiliate of Aqua Hotels & Resorts, to manage the property and renamed the hotel The Modern Honolulu.

The five-year contract covers over 250 Modern Honolulu workers.

Tell Kaiser to support ABA coverage for people with autism!

Kaiser Permenante needs to provide coverage for ABA treatmentsOver 1,900 of our members work at Kaiser Permanente.  Kaiser workers strive to provide good, quality patient care for our community; because of that, we are concerned about some of Kaiser’s recent decisions, including the company’s decision to oppose insurance coverage for certain Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) treatments.

In Hawai‘i’s 2013 legislative session, autism advocates supported a bill which would have helped individuals with autism spectrum disorders get insurance to cover behavioral treatments.  Today, an estimated one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder, and this bill could have gone a long way toward improving the quality of life of many of those children and their families.  Despite an outpouring of testimony in support, the bill was deferred until 2014.  In early hearings, there were only four testifiers that opposed the bill.  We were dismayed and upset to find that Kaiser Permanente was one of them.

Will you join us today in urging Kaiser to do the right thing and make a real commitment to quality patient care? Sign our petition and share it with your friends on Facebook.

Modern Honolulu: Tentative Agreement Reached!

On Thursday, September 12th, after 2 years of fighting, campaigning, and pressure from the inside out, we finally reached a tentative agreement with The Modern Honolulu hotel! This means there will be a union contract as soon as the Modern workers vote to accept it.

Before the contract can go into effect, Modern workers have the right to vote to accept or reject the tentative agreement. Therefore, all Modern workers are encouraged to come to one of the following ratification meetings to learn more about agreement before voting on it.


Thursday, September 26
8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 3:15 PM, 5:00 PM
Local 5 Office (1516 S. King Street)
All meetings will last 60-90 minutes. Copies of the agreement will be at the meetingModern Honolulu tentative agreement

If you have any questions, please contact Erlinda Sanchez or Juliana Alcaraz at (808)941-2141.

Action at the 2013 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

Photo courtesy of Honolulu Pulse

Photo courtesy of Honolulu Pulse

The 2013 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival was held at the Modern Honolulu, which has not settled a fair contract with their workers. Modern Honolulu workers and AiKea Movement community volunteers served food and beverages to attendees, with napkins reading, “Food. Wine. Justice” and leaflets to take a moment to think of the hardworking service workers who make Hawaii’s tourism industry possible.

“We are the people who  serve your wine, cook your food and clean your tables, and we are asking for your help in supporting local working families.” We asked attendees to ask the Modern to settle a fair contract with their hotel workers.

There are still a few days left of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. If you are attending, please ask the Modern Honolulu to settle a fair contract with their workers. Mahalo!

To view more photos, visit the UNITE HERE! Local 5 Facebook page.

Modern Honolulu: Negotiation Update

Click here to view PDF leaflet

Click here to view PDF leaflet

We had negotiation sessions with the hotel on August 27 and August 28. Among other things, we discussed the remaining issues:

• Housekeeping workload
• Engineering department staffing
• Wages
• Effective date of the agreement
• Successorship (job security for Modern workers in the event that the hotel is sold or changes operation)

Although we made significant progress, we are not done, yet. The next step is for both sides to put together all the issues we agreed upon into one document to be reviewed by both the Union Committee and the hotel representatives. After that, the Modern workers vote to ratify it and, if ratified, the contract becomes effective.


Tuesday, September 3

5:00 P.M.
Local 5 Office (1516 S. King Street
All Modern Workers are encouraged to attend!

Meanwhile, if you have not signed the UNION YES PETITION or have not had your photo taken yet, make sure you do so.

The stronger we are inside, the better contract we will get. Unity is our strength!

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.

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

# # #