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Contract negotiations underway between Hilton Hawaiian Village and hospitality union

UNITE HERE! Local 5 holds a rally in Waikīkī on June 7, 2022.
Casey Harlow
UNITE HERE! Local 5 holds a rally in Waikīkī on June 7, 2022.

Contract negotiations are underway between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the state’s largest hospitality worker union.

UNITE HERE! Local 5 held a rally on Tuesday afternoon outside the Waikīkī Hilton, calling for hotel executives to bring back positions such as housekeeping.

The union argues hotel executives have been slow to bring employees back, scaling back amenities such as daily room cleanings.

In the meantime, visitor arrivals in the state are nearing pre-pandemic levels — and hotel revenues have skyrocketed.

"It took a while for us to all come back. We’re not operating… we do not have enough people. Like right now, there’s two people on call. But the struggle is real, actually," said Chad, a hotel operator at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

"We spend more time on the phone, explaining to hotel guests, you know, we have to say no to a lot of stuff ever since the pandemic. Especially daily room cleaning. They tell the guests, ‘Oh, it’s by request.’ So they do actually request for the service. But what they don’t know is they need to be 24 hours in advance. So if they request it for today, they’re not gonna get it. They’re gonna get it the following day," Chad said.

The contract between Local 5 and several major hotel chains, including Hilton, Hyatt and Kyo-Ya, which operates several Sheraton properties in Waikīkī, ends on June 30.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the union will go on strike.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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