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Hospitality worker union wants hotels to bring back more employees full time

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As tourism continues to recover in Hawaiʻi, the state’s largest hospitality worker union is demanding hotels bring more of their employees back full time.

Unite Here! Local 5 members rallied in Waikīkī last week calling for hotels to bring back employees to their former positions.

The union argues that hotel occupancy and the average daily room rates have risen dramatically in recent months.

However, amenities, such as daily room cleanings and room service, haven’t returned.

Local 5 treasurer Eric Gill says this is preventing thousands of workers from returning full time.

"The hotels and the hotel corporations have used the pandemic as an excuse to achieve other long-term gains in terms of gains for them in terms of eliminating jobs to decrease their payroll costs and increase their profit margin — despite the fact that the hotels are very busy as we speak," Gill said.

"We still have many people who haven't been fully restored to the jobs and or the work hours that were there prior to the pandemic. So what we are doing is we're trying to avoid any permanent reduction of jobs, which this industry has done," he said.

Gill expects that workers who were recalled in March of this year worked roughly 80% of the hours they did in March 2019.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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