Hawaii Hotel Workers Vote 91% to Authorize Strike on Hilton

1,700 Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel workers could call a strike at any moment against Hawaii’s largest hotel

(Honolulu) – UNITE HERE Local 5 members at Hilton Hawaiian Village voted today to authorize a strike with a 91% yes vote.

The strike authorization comes after weeks of negotiations with Hilton for a contract covering 1,700 Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel workers. Workers complain that the company is not yet addressing key issues specific to the hotel.

Desiree Hee, a member from Hilton Hawaiian Village Accounting department voted yes to strike: “I voted yes because I’m tired of technology and automation combining our jobs—meaning one person doing more than one type of work. We lost so many positions already. Technology is inevitable but we want to make sure that our jobs are secured.”

Some of the key issues in contract negotiations are the excessive workload and poverty wages that specifically impact the workers at the timeshare towers. Housekeepers clean timeshare rooms that are significantly larger. At the same time, the workers at the Uniformed Services department get paid an average of $25,000 a year and barely receive tips from timeshare customers.

“I’m voting yes because one job should be enough”, said Lani Rivera, a Housekeeper at the Grand Islander Timeshare Tower. “We deserve better pay because our jobs are hard; we clean bigger rooms with kitchens—one timeshare room can take up to 4 hours to clean.”

Jonathan Rezada, a Bellman at the Hilton Grand Vacations Timeshare, shares the multigenerational struggle he seeks to end with this new contract, “I go back to my childhood—my father worked 30 years for Hilton. He worked two jobs, from 5 am to 11 at night. I want to fight for him because he always fought for me and my family. This is why I’m voting yes to strike.”

Workers are fighting to address the issues of subcontracting, technology and automation, workplace safety, job combination, job elimination, and more—all to ensure job security for thousands of workers. Contract negotiations with Hilton will resume on April 29th and 30th. Nearly 200 Hawaii Care and Cleaning workers already authorized a strike on March 27 with a 97% yes vote.

UNITE HERE Local 5 is encouraging Hawaii residents, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing hotels in case there is a labor dispute. In an event of a strike, please do not cross picket lines. UNITE HERE Local 5 will post updates on our website and social media pages for customers who need to know whether labor disputes could affect their travel or event plans. ­