On Dec. 1, it will be one year since over two dozen workers who supported the union at Pacific Beach Hotel lost their jobs.
The firings, former employees say, came after Pac Beach's parent company HTH Corporation retaliated against the forming of a workers' union. The employees formed a union in 2002 after working 8 years without a pay raise.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 42 filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against HTH Corporation dating back to January 2007. The charges included Pac Beach management refusing to recognize the ILWU as the workers' elected union, firing workers for union activity, conducting surveillance of workers participating in union activities, interfering with workers' rights, and failing to negotiate in good faith.
After 8 months of investigation, the National Relations Board charged HTH Corporation with illegal acts in September. A final board ruling is expected to be issued at the end of next year.
"This is a long-awaited day for the workers at Pacific Beach, but it's just the first step," said Justice at the Beach boycott coordinator Lance Kamada. "The hearing process can take months, and it's possible that the hotel will appeal a decision it doesn't like. This is a six-year struggle that may continue for a long time, unless the company decides to respect federal law."
In support of the workers, a delegation of supporters from Tokyo, Japan will hold a rally and press conference in front of the hotel to unveil a petition acknowledging the intimidation and unfair treatment by Pac Beach management.
From Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, the delegation from Japan will visit Hawai'i to meet with tourism industry, community, and union leaders to share their concerns about the Pac Beach workers' labor struggle and offer support.
The delegation includes Shigeru Wada, who is the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) Asia Pacific Regional Secretary. The ITF is an international trade union federation that has over 4.5 million members in 148 countries worldwide.
All Japan Dockworkers Union (Zenkowan) president Akinobu Itoh will also be part of the delegation. Zenkowan is the largest dockworkers union in Japan with 15,000 members.
Justice at the Beach is a community coalition for workplace justice for the employees at the Pacific Beach Hotel. For more information, visit www.pacbeach.ilwulocal142.org.