More than three months after union hotel contracts expired, hotel workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village – Hilton’s largest hotel worldwide with over 3,600 rooms and 1,500 union workers – walked off the job, announcing a five-day strike protesting Hilton’s efforts to lock workers into cheap recession contracts.
Outraged that Hilton finagled $180 million in bailout funds – taxpayer money that was meant to help stimulate the economy by creating jobs – while workers have endured staff cuts, reduced hours, and high injury rates, hundreds participated in the strike. The striking workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 5, and include housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks, bell staff, food servers, and others. Workers in Hawaii joined other striking Hilton workers in San Francisco who walked off the job on October 13.
“I’m not out here just for me. I’m a taxpayer too and I’m twice as upset over what the Hilton has done. This is not just about hotel workers, it’s about the future of our community. The taxpayer money that Hilton took was supposed to go towards helping to create jobs, and not be used to hurt workers in this economy. Hilton is just another predator of the recession. They line their pockets with taxpayer money and now they want even more from workers by using the economy as an excuse to eliminate jobs, increase our workload and lock us into a permanent recession. To me, that’s just being greedy,” said Debbie Tabar, an accounting clerk at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.