Ilikai workers plea to keep jobs

Blaine Nishigaya
Blaine Nishigaya

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Waikiki's Ilikai hotel shot to fame after featuring scenes from the 1960's show "Hawaii Five-O."

On Thursday, about a 150 of its remaining workers rallied to keep their jobs as the hotel hits the auction block in less a than a month.

The highest bidder will take the building's 203-residential condos and 16-commercial units , but what about its employees? They held a public demonstration in front of the hotel hoping the person who takes the property over hears their plea, to protect their jobs.

Job cuts, ownership controversy and the building's declining condition. The Ilikai has been through a lot recently and its workers are hoping they'll be spared with its sale.

A bold message to buyers. A stance to save their jobs.

"We are the union, the mighty mighty union," chanted the crowd.

That if there's no commitment to keep workers, there will be no peace.

"We plan to be part of their future," said Hotel Worker Blaine Nishigaya.

Blaine Nishigaya and other Local 5 union workers all have one clear message.

"We have a contract which we are hoping they'll honor," said Nishigaya.

He's been with the hotel for 32 years. Losing his job after the hotel is auctioned off could be crippling.

"There are a lot of people close to retirement age, a year or more or one or two years, it's a big impact," said Nishigaya.

Union workers say no matter who becomes the owner and operator of the property, that it should remain union. The Ilikai's newly appointed commissioner says he hopes workers are kept in mind as yet another chapter in this hotel saga comes to a close.

The property's developer Brian Anderson couldn't come up with the cash to pay lenders for the hotel redevelopment plans, prompting the property's foreclosure.

The Ilikai will be put up for auction April 15th.