For immediate release
May 21, 2005
778-7020 (cell) or 941-2141 x238
Kahuku, May 21, 2005 – Turtle Bay workers walked off the job early this morning to protest abusive working conditions for housekeepers and other health and safety issues for laundry and Palm Terrace restaurant workers. At around 3 am, the union delivered a letter to the manager on duty stating that workers were going on strike until 11:59 pm or until management agreed to commit in writing to resolve the issues raised. Since there is no union contract in place, workers cannot take their grievances to arbitration. However, without a contract, workers are not restricted from taking other actions, such as stopping work, in order to resolve their grievances.
A recent survey of housekeepers conducted by the union revealed that 81% of Turtle Bay housekeeping workers have pain on the job, 69% take pain medication at least weekly and 56% have trouble sleeping because of pain. Because of excessive workloads, 59% of housekeepers take less than their full 30 minute break and 21% take no break at all.
Weeks ago housekeepers offered a proposal to the General Manager, Mr. Abid Butt, demanding that the hotel honor their written policy of 15 room credits per day, instead of regular assignments of 17 or more. Housekeepers also invited Mr. Butt to meet with them in the employee cafeteria to discuss their issues. Mr. Butt refused to meet unless the union representative left the employee cafeteria. Workers refused to give up their right to have their union representative present.
The demands for laundry workers included that measures be taken to reduce dangerous static shock and that adequate ventilation be installed throughout the Resort’s laundry facility. The seriousness of this issue was made clear on Wednesday when paint fumes filled the poorly ventilated laundry making working conditions in the 85 degree laundry intolerable and generating many complaints even from workers passing by.
In the Palm Terrace restaurant the majority of servers surveyed have had surgery or undergone physical therapy because of their unsafe working conditions. Employees are demanding to be able to use rolling carts and other changes to ensure safer working conditions.
Workers who were on property at 3 am walked off the job and began setting up a picket line at the hotel’s entrance on Kamehameha Highway. Instead of reporting for their normal shifts, housekeepers and workers from other departments will join their co-workers on the picket line. If the hotel agrees to resolve their employees’ demands, workers will immediately report back to work. If the health and safety issues are not resolved, workers will begin reporting to work as scheduled after 11:59 pm on Saturday evening.