HONOLULU (KHON2) - UNITE HERE Local 5 hotel workers from six Marriott-operated hotels in Honolulu and Maui have voted to authorize a strike with a 95% yes vote.
The strike authorization comes after months of negotiations with Marriott for contracts covering over 3,500 hotel workers.
The 3,500 Marriott hotel workers in Hawaii could call a strike at any moment.
Workers from six Marriott-operated hotels voted yes to authorize a strike: Waikiki Beach Marriott, Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and Sheraton Maui.
"We want to come to an agreement with Marriott, but our members are preparing for a strike if contracts are not settled soon," said Eric Gill, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 5, "Our proposal is to make one job enough to live in Hawaii. Marriott's proposal is to get another job."
"I voted yes to strike because our hotels keep squeezing us to work harder, while we get less. We need to fight for proper staffing and reasonable workloads so we can be healthy when we retire and not broken down," says Julie Gabot, a 60-year-old housekeeper at the Sheraton Waikiki who has worked there for 30 years.
Laurie DeCoite, a PBX operator who has worked at the Sheraton Maui for 30 years, also voted yes to strike: "Generations of my family have worked at the Sheraton Maui. Those who worked before went on strike so that we could enjoy the benefits we do today. Now, it's our turn to make sure we protect what they won for future generations."
Workers are demanding Marriott, the world's largest and richest hotel company, to make one job enough to live in Hawaii.
Additionally, workers are fighting for job security by addressing issues like automation and technology, workplace safety, immigration, and more.
Marriott hotel workers will also be taking strike votes on September 12 in Boston, September 13 in San Francisco and San Jose, and September 14 in Seattle.
In total, the nationwide strike votes will cover over 8,000 union UNITE HERE workers in more than 20 hotels in six major hotel markets for Marriott: Honolulu, Maui, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.
UNITE HERE Local 5 is encouraging Hawaii residents, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing hotels in case there is a labor dispute. In an event of a strike, please do not cross picket lines.
UNITE HERE maintains MarriottTravelAlert.org, a service for customers of Marriott hotels who need to know whether labor disputes could affect their travel or event plans.
Local 5 represents approximately 11,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.