Waikiki Hotel Workers Authorize Strike

Dolores Epan
Dolores Epan
Rod Kane
Rod Kane

Aug 24, 2006 12:33 AM

By Joann Shin

(KHNL) - It's news that affects thousands.

The votes are in and employees for several Waikiki hotels have authorized a strike.

96% of Hilton employees voted yes and 97% from Sheraton voted yes.

They clapped, they cheered, they embraced.

Thousands of hotel workers overwhelmingly voted yes to authorize a strike.

"I voted yes, not only for myself, but because I care for the community and for the future of hotel workers," said Dolores Epan, an employee of Hilton Hawaiian Village.

More than 4,000 workers of Hilton Hawaiian Village, and the 4 Sheraton Waikiki hotels have been working without a contract since june.

Negotiations continue between the union and the hotels.

But Rod Kane, who works for Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, says this strike authorization is needed to secure their futures.

"We will win the struggle. I voted yes to give negotiators the authorization to fight for us. I voted yes so we will win," said Kane.

In a written statement, Hilton Hawaiian Village officials said negotiations this past weekend were the most productive since bargaining started.

But union reps say there are still major issues that need to be resolved - including wage increases, health care, pension benefits and employee workload.

"Good hotel jobs, good wages, good benefits," said Kane. "That's what we need. We're not worried about fear. Fear is not in our vocabulary. We give our leader what he needs and we'll be alright."

Just because they authorized a strike doesn't mean it's imminent.

They now have the authorization to sum their members to strike.

They'll go back to the bargaining table Friday.