Unite Here Local 5 to send another message with ‘Boycott Hyatt’ rally

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—Unite Here Local 5, Hawaii’s largest hotel workers union with over 11,000 members, is continuing its campaign against the Hyatt Regency Waikiki for subcontracting local jobs and challenging union wages.

Union members are planning a “Boycott Hyatt” rally on Friday, October 7 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. outside of the Waikiki hotel to send a message to Hyatt customers.

Local 5 said in a statement: “We struck for the right to stand together with other Hyatt workers—union and non-union—to fight for American jobs. Hyatt is for subcontracting—100 housekeepers in Boston, nine Accounting jobs in Hawaii, and any other job they can think of. Hyatt is for paying subcontracted housekeeping and stewarding workers half our wage instead of 100 percent of our wage like Hilton. Hyatt is for food and beverage workers at Hyatt on the beach making $9 an hour instead of $17 like the contract calls for. Hyatt has the worst record of safety and health for housekeepers among the four largest hotel chains—making non-union housekeepers clean up to 30 rooms a day.”

In September, hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki walked off the job, announcing a week-long strike in coordination with approximately 3,000 unionized hotel workers at six hotel properties across North America, including the largest Hyatt property in the world, the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Contracts for striking workers in Honolulu expired in June 2010, in Chicago and San Francisco in August 2009, and in Los Angeles in November 2009.  In each of these cities union workers have reached agreements with other major hotel employers, like Hilton and Starwood.

Local 5 said it will continue its boycott as part of a nationwide effort across nine cities to call attention to housekeeping workload/safety and job security concerns.

“Our one week strike [last month]—the longest Local 5 strike since 1990—is not the end of our campaign for justice at Hyatt,” Local 5 said in the statement. “It is the beginning. After launching our boycott in June, this strike is a springboard to even more boycott actions.”

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