HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Waikiki hotel union workers will vote whether or not to authorize a strike against Sheraton-owned hotels Wednesday.
The vote, which will take place on the sidewalk fronting the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel, does not mean a strike will immediately take place. Rather, if the vote is passed, workers will have the authorization to go on strike at any time.
The results of the vote will be announced at about 6:30 p.m. in the same location.
Cade Watanabe, a spokesperson for Local 5 hotel workers union, said he is "pretty confident (the majority) will vote yes."
More than 1700 workers from the Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and Royal Hawaiian hotels are invited to vote Wednesday.
The union contracts of nearly 6,000 Hawaii hotel workers expired last June. Since then, workers have been bargaining with Sheraton hotels to renew their contracts.
They have made three attempts so far, two in January and one in February, but all were canceled by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the organization that owns the Sheraton hotels.
"We have to fight for our future.... They show us no respect, and this kind of disrespect demands a response," said Evelyn Barnatia, an employee of the Sheraton Waikiki for 16 years and a mother of three.
Angela Vento, Starwood's regional director of sales and marketing for Hawaii said they are "doing everything we can to reach a labor agreement at the bargaining table that continues to meet the needs of our associates, our guests and our community."
If the vote is passed, union "members will be very judicious from now on," said Watanabe.