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Hawaii Hotel Workers Union Fights for Bringing Back More Services As Contract Expires

Nearly 6,000 union hotel workers in Hawaii are now working without a contract. UNITE HERE! Local 5 wants the hotels to bring back services and staff to pre-pandemic levels.

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Nearly 6,000 union hotel workers in Hawaii are now working without a contract.

UNITE HERE! Local 5's collective bargaining agreements with the owners of some of the state's largest hotels -- including the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, and Sheraton Waikiki -- expired on Thursday.

The union wants the hotels to bring back services and staff to pre-pandemic levels.

"We got to get the services back that bring the jobs back to this community and not just allow these owners to go up on the hotel prices. The hotel prices are the highest I've ever seen in the 20 years in this industry and the guests are paying it, and they're trying to convince these guests that they should pay it with less service and that means less jobs for us," said Waikiki Beach Marriott bartender and Local 5 executive board member Jason Maxwell.

According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism's latest numbers, the average daily rate for Hawaii's hotels during May was $340, compared to $255 in May 2019, before the pandemic. The average occupancy was 73.9%, compared to 79% during May 2019.

"The number of work hours is starting to return but is nowhere near where it was or should be based on our occupancy levels," said Local 5 political director Cade Watanabe.

A spokesperson for the Hilton Hawaiian Village told KITV4 in a statement: "Hilton is negotiating for a new collective bargaining agreement with UNITE HERE Local 5, a union that represents some of our Team Members at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

"Hilton maintains a cooperative and productive relationship with UNITE HERE Local 5, and we are confident that we will reach a fair and reasonable agreement that is beneficial to both our valued Team Members and to our hotel."

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