Hilton Union Members Settle, Strike Off

Dolores Reyes
Dolores Reyes
Wayne Altona
Wayne Altona
Gary Seibert
Gary Seibert

(KHNL) - It's business as usual at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Unionized hotel workers said the threat of a strike has been lifted.

"It's hard because we don't know if we're going to work the next day," said housekeeper Dolores Reyes.

The union announced a tentative contract agreement with the hotel. In August, workers had authorized a strike if a deal could not be reached.

"We have to budget our money, we cannot spend that much because when we walk, we have at least something else behind."

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but union members said they received wage increases, improvements to health and pension plans and work load reductions.

"I'm ecstatic, I think it's a really good deal for everybody," said bellman Wayne Altona. "I think it's pretty much a win win situation for everyone."

Hotel officials said it was important to maintain labor peace while Hawaii's visitor industry remains strong.

"One of the things that makes it unique is the aloha spirit," said Gary Seibert, Hilton vice-president.

"You can find sand and beaches and sun and palm trees in many many locations of the world," Seibert said.

Armed with a tentative deal with the Hilton, the union said it will continue contract talks with four Sheraton hotels later this week.

"This settlement sets the pattern," said Eric Gill, Local 5 Financial Secretary-Treasurer.

"Waikiki has always set the pattern for every hotel in the state, regardless if it's union or non-union or whichever union."

After months of working without a contract, nearly 1,600 at the Hilton say they now have job security.

Union members must still ratify the contract. A time line for the ratification vote has not yet been announced.