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Concierge workers warn travelers of possible strike at Kyo-Ya’s Waikiki hotels
If the concierge workers strike, thousands of UNITE HERE Local 5 members at Kyo-Ya’s Waikiki hotels will honor their picket line
Honolulu, HI – Concierge workers at the iconic Royal Hawaiian Hotel, owned by Japan-based Kyo-Ya Hotel and Resorts, are warning travelers and those who have business at Kyo-Ya’s Waikiki hotels that they could be affected by a possible strike to stand up for good, secure jobs that are being threatened by subcontracting.
The 11 concierge workers who work at The Royal Hawaiian are non-union. But if they do go on strike, thousands of UNITE HERE Local 5 members who work at Kyo-Ya’s four Waikiki hotels (Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton Waikiki, Westin Moana Surfrider, and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani) will honor their picket line and not go to work. Many more Local 5 members from other union-represented properties will also be on the picket line in solidarity.
On October 3, 2017, a group of concierge workers asked Kyo-Ya for a fair process to decide whether to unionize. A few weeks later, Kyo-Ya announced that they will subcontract their concierge work to Pleasant Holidays, a tour activities company, starting February 1, 2018. Concierge workers were given a choice to work for the subcontractor or take severance and leave.
“Our members have chosen to stand in solidarity with the non-union concierge workers because subcontracting destroys our jobs, our families, and our communities. Our union contracts are expiring this summer. Local 5 members are proud of the good wages, benefits, and job security that we have fought for over the years. Subcontracting is a top concern for our members because it takes away our good, secure jobs,” says Gemma Weinstein, President of Local 5.
“I have worked at The Royal Hawaiian for 31 years, and I have always looked forward to welcoming our valued guests back who are accustomed to our luxury level and personalized Concierge services. We have always been proud to be part of the Kyo-Ya family and are shocked and disappointed to find out that Kyo-Ya has decided to replace our entire Concierge staff with an outsourced Activity Desk. Our return guests have come to expect personalized recommendations, not those driven by profit and commissions,” says Wendy Nagaishi, a Royal Hawaiian concierge.
The concierge workers are asking for their jobs to remain intact and in-house. If their demands are not met, the workers warn tourists and the community that they will go on strike. They urge travelers and the community to not cross their picket lines at the Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton Waikiki, Westin Moana Surfrider, and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.
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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