Battle over Waikiki hotel still intense - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Battle over Waikiki hotel still intense

Shigeru Wada Shigeru Wada
Arthuro Daray Arthuro Daray

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - December 1 marks one year since a labor dispute rattled a Waikiki hotel.

A year later, the battle is still intense.

And now, even Japan is involved.

A delegation of union leaders from Japan are in town to fight on behalf of Pacific Beach Hotel workers.

At Monday's rally, it was clear emotions over what happened a year ago, still run high.

It's a fight they refuse to give up, one that has spread beyond Hawaii's borders.

"Since 80% of the guests of this hotel are Japanese, we feel obliged to support the Pacific Beach Hotel workers," said Shigeru Wada, Asia Pacific Union Leader.

With the union ILWU leading the way, a delegation of labor leaders from Japan and Hawaii lawmakers, try to deliver a petition signed by more than 64,000 Japanese workers.

"They told us we had to leave," said Rep. Karl Rhoads (D) Palama, Downtown, Chinatown, Sheridan. "They would not take the petition."

The petition urges the hotel owner to re-hire workers who were let go.

Last year, a management change triggered mass firings right before the holidays.

Workers were told they'd get their jobs back, but 32 of them never did.

"Pension? Pension, everything. Everything, I lost. After 18 years? 18 years," said former hotel worker Arthuro Daray.

Hotel management says it re-hired 90-percent of the employees, but couldn't hire the rest due to the anticipated downturn in tourism.

The petition also calls for Pacific Beach to recognize the ILWU.

"Most of the employees have been hired back and we believe we still have the majority, and because we still have the majority, ILWU still is a collective bargaining representative of the employees here." said ILWU president Fred Galdones.

The dispute is currently on trial in a federal court. In a statement, Pacific Beach Hotel management says:

"The union's tactics are intended to drive our company out of business and harm the employees it claims to represent. The union's campaign to discourage Japanese tourism is an affront to the entire visitor industry and all of Hawaii. Its tactics are a sideshow and have no place in the process-driven resolution of our differences."

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