For immediate release
October 29, 2004
(808) 941-2141 x238 or (808) 778-7020 (cell)
Honolulu, October 29 – Shortly after 3 am this morning, a group of locked out hotel workers from the Sheraton Palace hotel in San Francisco began picketing the employee entrance of the Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian hotels. Currently 4,000 hotel workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, have been locked-out by 14 hotels in San Francisco.
UNITE HERE Local 5, which represents the workers at all four Sheratons in Waikiki, informed management that the picket was a lawful picket line and had been approved by Local 5. Based on Local 5’s contract language, union members at the two hotels have the right to respect the picket line without being disciplined.
“We expect the vast majority of workers to respect Local 2’s picket line” said Eric Gill, Local 5’s Financial Secretary-Treasurer. “Our members know that Local 2’s fight is our fight. If hotel workers in San Francisco are forced to pay for their medical coverage then we will be next. Our members in Hawaii also support the efforts of hotel workers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington DC to negotiate contracts that expire in 2006, when our contract expires.”
The Sheraton Palace in San Francisco, as are the four Sheratons in Waikiki and the Sheraton Maui, is owned by Kyo-Ya Co. Ltd. Due to a lack of progress in talks for a city-wide hotel contract, Local 2 struck four downtown hotels for a limited 2-week period. The other 10 hotels, including the Sheraton Palace, who are part of the San Francisco Multi-Employer Group chose to lock-out their employees. The Multi-Employer Group has extended the lock-out at all 14 hotels beyond the two week strike, which would have ended October 13.
“The Sheratons in Hawaii have been sending non-union staff to be strike breakers at the Sheraton Palace in San Francisco” said Hernando Tan, Local 5’s President. “They entered into the fight in San Francisco, so they should not be surprised that that fight followed them back to Hawaii.”
UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Textiles and Industrial Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) merged on July 8, 2004 forming UNITE HERE, which represents more than 440,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees throughout North America.
For more background on the hotel workers’ struggle, visit: www.hotelworkersunited.org