Contract Dispute Heats up at 7 Marriott Properties in Hawai‘i
Nearly 2,000 UNITE HERE Local 5 members rallied on Labor Day in front of seven Marriott-operated hotels as Local 5 announced a strike authorization vote set for Sept. 10, 2018.
The rally and call for a strike vote come after a summer of negotiations with Marriott for contracts covering more than 3,500 workers at seven properties including: Waikīkī Beach Marriott, Sheraton Waikīkī, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaʻiulani, Sheraton Kauaʻi, and Sheraton Maui in Kāʻanapali.
An estimated 125 workers rallied on Monday at the Sheraton Maui in Kāʻanapali as part of the coordinated union effort.
A representative with the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa issued a statement saying the property along with its owners, Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts are in negotiations and have had longstanding and productive relationships with Unite Here Local 5.
The following is an excerpt from the statement sent in response to Maui Now’s inquiry:
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“Kyo-ya has always negotiated our collective bargaining agreements in good faith and will continue to do so. While the negotiation process is moving forward, UNITE HERE and some of its members are engaging in rallies on Monday to express their views on important issues. Kyo-ya is a company that values the contributions of all our associates, and we respect the right of people to voice their opinions. We are also committed to continuing our contract discussions and look forward to our scheduled future meetings.”
Union representatives say contract negotiations will ultimately impact over 8,000 hotel workers and “could impact almost 19,000 hotel rooms in Hawaiʻi’s booming tourism and hospitality economy.”
Gemma Weinstein, President of UNITE HERE Local 5 said, “Our members, the hotel workers, are the reason why Marriott is the largest and richest hotel company in the world. Yet we work multiple jobs, or we’re doing the work of 2-3 people because the hotel is understaffed. We have had enough.”
Union representatives say “one job should be enough,” to live in Hawaiʻi, raise families, and “retire with dignity.”
Maria Teresa Cainguitan, who has worked as a housekeeper at the Waikīkī Beach Marriott for 12 years commented in a union press release saying, “I have always worked more than one job since I moved to Hawaiʻi from the Philippines. We’re calling on Marriott to make one job enough to live in Hawaii. My coworkers and I are ready to do whatever it takes, including a strike.”
Union representatives say UNITE HERE members and their service have helped propel Marriott to reach an $42 billion market capitalization with 1.2 million rooms worldwide.
Other Marriott worker actions on Monday included marches and rallies in several mainland locations including Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, and San Diego. Union representatives say the efforts were aimed at reaching top executives of the company.