UNITE HERE Local 5 members rally at the Modern Honolulu and Ilikai Hotel to protest lack of daily room cleaning
With hotel guest occupancy reaching up to 99%, Local 5 members are demanding to restore hotel services and to bring workers back
(Honolulu, HI) – Dozens of UNITE HERE Local 5 hotel workers rally to demand the reinstatement of daily room cleaning in hotels. Tourists numbers are reaching record-highs in the pandemic, but the number of jobs that have returned is still low. Hotels are seeing up to 99% in guest occupancy, yet only 62% of Local 5 members in the hospitality industry have returned to work.
Hotel workers chanted and marched around the two hotel properties, handing out leaflets to guests to encourage them to request daily room cleaning. They protested against the hotels’ decision to make room cleaning optional, instead of the daily service that was offered before the pandemic.
Juliana Alcaraz, a housekeeper at the Modern Honolulu for 10 years stated, “These corporations do not care about us; they only want profits. It is hurting Hawaii’s working people and the guests who come here to visit. We need to bring back daily room cleaning so we can provide better service and bring more workers back.”
Housekeeping departments are the largest in almost every hotel property and the lack of daily room cleaning services impacts thousands of workers who are still waiting to get called back to work. For the few workers who have returned, no daily room cleaning means increased workload and negative interactions from guests.
Purie Ibalio, a housekeeper at Modern Honolulu shared, “Before the pandemic, we take roughly 45 minutes cleaning check-out rooms. Now it takes us two hours because it can be several days before anyone has cleaned the room. The hotel only staffs 10 housekeepers per shift when it was up to 20 pre-pandemic. Guests are yelling at us to clean their rooms and we are not allowed to.”
The Modern Honolulu and the Ilikai Hotel are among the properties where daily room cleaning is not offered. Hotel guests in both properties are showing support to the workers. Chris, a visitor from Los Angeles shared, “They are not cleaning your rooms at all. We’re here [for] two weeks; we get to request linen and throw our own trash out. I get to make my own bed for two weeks—that’s not a vacation.”
UNITE HERE Local 5 members rallied in three shifts throughout the day. The Union continued negotiations with Diamond Resorts, the owner of the Modern Honolulu. As of today, the company refused to reinstate daily room cleaning.
Ilikai Hotel and Luxury Suited is operated by an affiliate of Aqua-Aston, which is a subsidiary of Marriott Vacations Worldwide. MVW’s CEO was paid $5,411,087 in 2020; the median worker was paid $29,929. The CEO made 181x the median worker’s pay.
Modern Honolulu is owned by Diamond Resorts. CEO compensation for Diamond Resorts is not publicly available, since Diamond is owned by Apollo, a private equity firm. Diamond Resorts is being acquired by Hilton Grand Vacations. According to Hilton Grand Vacations’ 2021 proxy filing, the ratio of HGV’s CEO pay to median HGV worker pay was 150:1. Median worker compensation was calculated as $46,409. The CEO’s total compensation was $6,945,285.
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.
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