Hotel Workers Authorize Strike Vote

Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Maria Salantes
Maria Salantes
Dolores Epan
Dolores Epan
Local 5 Members emerge from a strike vote meeting on Wednesday
Local 5 Members emerge from a strike vote meeting on Wednesday

(KHNL) - They've been back and forth in negotiations over their contract.

But now, it appears a hotel workers strike could be in the future.

Local 5 Union representatives announced Wednesday, that workers from 5 Waikiki hotels have authorized a strike vote.

Hotel workers from Hilton Hawaiian Village and the 4 Sheraton Waikiki hotels would be affected.

Union reps say negotiations are not going fast enough and hope this will latest move will help change that.

Just seconds after they reached a decision, hotel workers seemed relieved as they left the Neal Blaisdell Center.

"To call for a strike vote at the Hilton and Sheraton hotels in the event we don't reach such as agreement," said Eric Gill, Local 5 union leader.

Around 4,100 employees would be affected, including Maria Salantes who's been an house keeper at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for more than two decades.

Salantes says this is one move needed to speed up negotiations.

"I can sacrifice even though I have little savings. Better than we fight this forever," said Salantes.

Sticking points continue to be over wage increases, health care and pension benefits and employee workload.

The workload is a major concern for housekeeper Dolores Epan.

She's been with Hilton for 18 years. "I have a rotator cuff and I had two times surgery. Every time I do 16 rooms, I aggravate my shoulder," said Epan.

And while this is just a call to vote on whether to strike, Epan is thinking ahead.

In the event that a strike does follow, she says she'll go on strike if that's what it takes.

Epan said, "I scared, but we have to do it. I have two girls, one in college, that's why I worry about that, but we have to sacrifice."

Representatives from Hilton Hawaiian Village issued a statement, saying they are disappointed about the union's announcement.

They say they don't believe a strike vote, much less a strike, is necessary and that they have been and continue to be committed to negotiating a fair contract.

Hotel workers plan to vote on August 23rd at the Blaisdell Arena.