Unite Here! Local 5 Enters Into 15th Day of Strike for Better Pay and Job Security

Oct 22, 2018

Union strikers -- 2,700 members -- continue to picket at Kyoya-owned hotels in Waikiki and Maui.
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

2,700 hotel workers in Waikiki and Maui continue to picket on the15th day of their strike for better wages and job security.

 

Jason Murai at Sheraton Princess Ka'iulani Hotel
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Striking hotel workers chanted to the beat of makeshift drums at the Sheraton Princess Ka’iulani Hotel in Waikiki.  Jason Murai is a telephone operator there and says he and his fellow workers at five Kyoya Hotels and Resorts are in it for the long haul.

 

“We’re in it to win it.  We didn’t strike for 2 weeks to give up now.  We want job protection.  We want job security against subcontracting, against technology taking over our jobs.  We want workload staffing guidelines so the company stops cutting our hours.”

 

Front Desk worker, Boram Shin, wants job security protection from automation and robots
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

Meanwhile, at Unite Here! Local 5 strike headquarters on King Street, Boram Shin, who grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Old Dominion University in Virginia, says her front desk job, which pays 25 dollars and hour, will probably be the first to be automated by the company.

 

“In our collective unit, we want to put specific language – they haven’t agreed to it yet – but we wanna be involved in the decision-making process so when they decide to bring technology or automation or robots, we wanna know way in advance so we can prepare for it and we want the members and the workers to have a say in how it gets implemented.”

 

Paola Rodelas, Unite Here! Local 5 spokesperson
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The workers are also asking Kyoya Hotels for pay raises.  A one dollar an hour raise for a full time worker would cost the company

$2-thousand dollars more annually.  For all 27-hundred workers, a one dollar raise would amount to $5.6 million more annually.  Paola Rodelas, union spokesperson, says eight-years of record high revenues for the tourism industry justify pay raises

 

“They’re doing very well and Kyoya is no exception.  As a private company we only have their older numbers.  We know their cash flow back in 2013 was almost $170 million.  And, so, when you think about – like that $5 million – it’s kind of like pennies in a bucket for them.”

 

Contract negotiations resume October 26.  Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.