NLRB orders Waikiki hotel workers rehired - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

NLRB orders Waikiki hotel workers rehired

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The National Labor Relations Board has ordered the Pacific Beach Hotel of Waikiki to rehire seven fired workers with back pay, affirming an earlier ruling that the hotel committed numerous violations of labor law.

All seven of the fired workers - Keith Kapena Kanaiaupuni, Daryl Miyashiro, Todd Hatanaka, Rhandy Villanueva, Virginia Recaido, Ruben Bumanglag and Virbina Revamonte, were members of an International Longshore & Warehouse Union bargaining committee.

A three-member NLRB panel actually strengthened a 2009 order by James Kennedy, an administrative law judge, ordering that interest be paid to the fired workers as well as back pay. The workers were dismissed between 2005 and 2007.

The hotel was ordered not merely to rehire the workers with back pay and interest but also to remove any documents about dismissal from their files, and to notify the employees that this has been done.

The board also ordered Kennedy to consider compensation for other workers who lost their jobs when the hotel closed its Shogun restaurant.

"This case represents the latest chapter in the respondents' ongoing efforts to impede the rights of employees," the NLRB panel wrote in its decision.

The three-person panel concluded, as the administrative law judge had earlier, that ILWU Local 142 was correct in charging "wide-ranging unfair labor practices" had been committed during contract talks.

"Pacific Beach Hotel interfered with employee free choice," they wrote.

The hotel repeatedly changed management contractors, at one point outsourcing it to Outrigger, then canceling the contract when Outrigger was close to reaching a labor agreement with Local 142. New work rules were imposed at this time. The NLRB said this was also illegal.

Each time the management contract was reassigned, employees were required to reapply for their jobs and placed on new hire probation, regardless of how long they had actually worked at the hotel. The union said some had their pay cut, while others were not "rehired."

The NLRB panel says the hotel engaged in "a scheme to evade their responsibilities...and weaken the union."

The Pacific Beach Hotel is one of the larger hotels in Waikiki and is famous for an immense fish tank called the Oceanarium. Built by the same man who opened the Pagoda restaurant, it has long catered to Japanese visitors.

The hotel may have further appellate options.

The original judge's decision included several specific references to statements made by Robert Minicola, regional vice president of operations for both the hotel and the company managing the hotel, which the judge labeled as unlawful threats against workers. The NLRB appeals ruling cited some of these instances as well.

The hotel unilaterally withdrew recognition of the union on Dec. 1, 2007. The same day, it told housekeepers they had to clean 18 rooms a day rather than the 16 rooms covered under their collective bargaining contract. Others were laid off the same day. Still others had their wages cut. The NLRB labeled all these actions illegal.

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