Hilton and hotel workers union celebrate new deal - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hilton and hotel workers union celebrate new deal

Eric Gill Eric Gill
Kaleo Aarona Kaleo Aarona
Jerry Gibson (left) shakes hands with Eric Gill Jerry Gibson (left) shakes hands with Eric Gill
Hilton workers vote on new contract. Hilton workers vote on new contract.

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - "We're proud to say that we've got decent wage increases. We've protected our benefits. We've strengthened our pension fund," Eric Gill said.

Gill, financial secretary-treasurer with Unite Here Local 5, said the union achieved virtually all of its contract goals for 1,500 union workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa.

Kaleo Aarona said the agreement sets her mind at ease.

"My husband is ill right now. He's on dialysis, so the medical is so important to us," she said.

Last October employees staged a five-day strike at Hilton's biggest property. They walked the line and vented their frustration over the pace of labor talks.

The new deal puts that controversy in the rear view mirror.

"We thank our team members, managers, and the entire community for their patience during this lengthy process," said Jerry Gibson, Hilton Hawaii area vice president.

The agreement is for three years. Pay increases are retroactive to last June when the old contract expired. The contract recovers 75 jobs in the union that are sub-contracted positions. They will become part of Unite Here's bargaining unit.

"It represents a new era for our two organizations," Gill said.

"We've been waiting for this for a long time now," Aarona said.

The contract covers bellmen, front desk clerks, housekeepers, and restaurant and maintenance workers.

Hilton's settlement comes as Unite Here negotiates contracts for 5,000 other hotel workers in Hawaii.

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