Hawaii workers defy Trump administration in largest union action this year


Press release for June 27, 2018

Media Contact:
Paola Rodelas
Office Phone: (808) 941-2141 ext. 270
Cell Phone: (808) 333-4782

Hawaii workers defy Trump administration in largest union action this year

Over 1,500 Local 5 members and community supporters show unity and strength amidst the Janus decision, demanding that One Job Should Be Enough

View tweets from actions worldwide: #1job #UNITEHERE

(Honolulu, HI) – Over 1,500 members of UNITE HERE Local 5 – the union representing over 11,000 hotel, healthcare, and food service workers – were joined by community supporters in a march and rally in Waikiki to demand that one job should be enough to live in Hawai’i and keep up with the cost of living.

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision on Janus v. AFSCME that rigs the system like never before against working-class families. But Local 5 remains defiant, moving forward with its plans to march down Waikiki.

“The Janus decision is another attack on working families by the Trump administration—just like the family separation happening at the border and yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling supporting the Muslim ban. It shows that the Trump administration and the corporations are scared when working people are united and organizing. So our response is to organize and come together. And we did that today at our One Job Should Be Enough march and rally,” says Gemma Weinstein, President of UNITE HERE Local 5.

Governor David Ige, who also released a statement today expressing his disappointment with the Janus decision, spoke at the rally. He told a cheering crowd of Local 5 members that he “shares their dream that one job should be enough.”

The march in Waikiki was part of the launch of a national campaign to raise standards in the hotel industry with demonstrations led by thousands of union and non-union Marriott workers in eight cities across the United States, including San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Philadelphia and San Jose. Carrying the message “One Job Should Be Enough,” Marriott workers are calling on their employer, the largest and most profitable hotel company in the world, to use its leadership in the global hotel industry to create jobs that are enough to live on.

Around 100 Maui residents who work at Sheraton Maui and Kaanapali Beach Club sign waved and demanded that one job should be enough

Around 100 people on Maui also took action and sign waved in front of Lahaina Cannery Mall. “I’m a single mom of 3 kids and I work two full-time jobs as a phone operator at two hotels. I am fighting for this contract to make these jobs good enough so that I can work one job and spend time with my kids. I also don’t want them to struggle with two jobs like me,” says Laurie DeCoite, who has worked at the Sheraton Maui’s PBX department for 30 years.

Over 10,000 workers have union contracts expiring in 2018. Over 7,600 of them work in 20 hotels on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawai’i Island. Nearly 4,000 work at Marriott hotels. Local 5 members have their first contract bargaining session with Marriott tomorrow on June 28.

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 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.

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