About 2,700 Marriott hotel workers on Oahu and Maui went on strike Monday, and the union representing them says they won’t go back to work until contract talks are done.
The strike impacts five hotels operated by Marriott and owned by Kyo-ya which includes Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and Sheraton Maui.
Workers are picketing at all five hotels, and are urging Hawaii residents, elected officials, political candidates, and tourists to support workers by not patronizing these hotels.
The strike comes as Marriott and Kyo-ya failed to reach agreement on key issues, such as job security around technology and automation, workplace safety, and the need for Marriott and Kyo-ya to compensate workers so that one job can be enough for workers to support themselves.
“To be honest, we need one job to be enough. We need our wages to equate to us to be able to live in the community that we work in,” said dinner cook Jenny Johnson.
“The weighted average, I believe, is about $21 when you take everybody,” said Eric Gill, UNITE HERE Local 5 secretary-treasurer. “Even though we had good raises, people are still stepping farther and farther back and as our companies record record profits.”
The striking workers are in housekeeping, food and beverage, and front desk to name a few.
Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts released the following statement:
“Although we are in continued contract discussions with UNITE HERE Local 5, we respect the right of our associates at Kyo-ya’s five properties in Hawaii to participate in a work stoppage which began on Monday, October 8.
We have implemented contingency plans which ensure that the Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and the Sheraton Maui continue to offer our guests an enjoyable experience during their stay in Hawaii. There have been some adjustments to staffing levels and services being offered at our properties. We have notified our guests and business partners of the situation and are providing them with ongoing updates. We encourage our current and future hotel guests to contact their individual properties for the latest information.
We are committed to continuing our good faith bargaining and hope to resolve this situation in a timely manner.”
Hotel management even notified guests through letters.
“The letter said something like, ‘Call this number for clean towels.’ We called that number, but there’s nobody to answer the phone,” said hotel guest Howard Ehrasman.
UNITE HERE Local 5 says a meeting with Marriott and Kyo-ya has not been scheduled at this time.
In a statement, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said, “We are hopeful this gets resolved as soon as possible. During this time, we want to assure visitors there is no need to cancel or adjust their travel plans.”
Honolulu and Maui Marriott workers are joining a nationwide strike in eight cities with 7,700 Marriott hotel workers from 23 hotels.
Strikes began last week in Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego, and Detroit with thousands of workers are demanding that One Job Should Be Enough.
Kyo-ya is the largest owner of Marriott hotels in all of the striking cities. In addition to the Hawaii hotels, it also owns the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
The last strike Local 5 conducted that lasted more than a day was at least four years ago.