Protestors Demand a Deal for Waikiki Hotel Workers

Kapena Kanaiaupuni
Kapena Kanaiaupuni
Dave Mori
Dave Mori
Bill Comstock
Bill Comstock

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The Pacific Beach Hotel is well known to many for its three story indoor aquarium.

But contract negotiations have dragged on there for so long, some employees worry their union plans may get "tanked" as well.

That prompted a protest this Monday afternoon.

Among the hundreds protesting line in front of the Pacific Beach Hotel is Kapena Kanaiaupuni, a bellman who has worked here for the past 25 years. But he is now fed up, because he continues working without a contract.

Its frustrating for the workers because we don't have respect on the job." says Kanaiaupuni.

Contract talks for the hundreds of bellmen, housekeepers and others have stalled after 18 months of negotiations. The key issue that brought out these demonstrators is whether the Pacific Beach will be a union or an open shop.

"Open shop means people can elect not to be in the union but we still have to provide all the benefits and services negotiated." says ILW Union representative, Dave Mori.

But counters Pacific Beach General Manager, Bill Comstock, "Its one of those sticking points that a lot of employees feel strongly about, they don't want to have to pay for the privilege of working here."

Union reps say workers voted to allow the union in three years ago, but management says not everyone is in favor of the idea.

"There were 3 elections and all had a razor thin majority." says Comstock.

So the lines have been drawn on this contract dispute, right in front of the Pacific Beach Hotel.

Monday's demonstration is one of the biggest and loudest protests put on by the union. They say if management can't hear their message after this, they may boycott the hotel.

"We want to peacefully get a contract at the table but we'll take it to the street and do whatever is necessary." says Mori.

Both sides are expected to be back at the bargaining table this Thursday.