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.

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.

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

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UNITE HERE and Hyatt Reach National Agreement

For Immediate Release
July 1, 2013
Jeff Nelson, UNITE HERE
(617) 480-2585
Farley Kern, Hyatt Hotels
(312) 780-5506

UNITE HERE and Hyatt Reach National Agreement

Pact provides contracts and process for workers to join union, ends global Hyatt boycott

CHICAGO (July 1, 2013)—Today Hyatt Hotels Corporation and UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada, announced a national agreement that resolves longstanding disputes between the two organizations. The agreement creates a framework for the company and the union to work together moving forward. Both UNITE HERE and Hyatt hailed the pact as a positive step.

The agreement will go into effect upon the settlement and ratification of union contracts by Hyatt associates in San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Pending associate approval, the contracts will provide retroactive wage increases and maintain quality health care and pension benefits. The proposed new contracts would cover associates into 2018.

A key provision of the agreement establishes a fair process, which includes a mechanism for employees at a number of Hyatt hotels to vote on whether they wish to be represented by UNITE HERE. As part of the accord, upon ratification of the union contracts, UNITE HERE will end its global boycott of Hyatt.

D. Taylor, the president of UNITE HERE, said, “We look forward to a new collaborative relationship with Hyatt. This agreement shows that when workers across the hotel industry stand together, they can move forward, even in a tough economy. Both organizations deserve credit for working out this constructive step forward.”

“We are delighted that our associates in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Waikiki will have contracts and the pay raises that go with them,” said Doug Patrick, Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Hyatt.

See more here.