Hotel workers strike drags on, taking a toll on picketers and businesses

(Hawaii News Now (custom credit))
Updated: Nov. 8, 2018 at 6:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the hotel workers strike enters its second month, the industry’s longest work stoppage in nearly 50 years is starting to take a heavy toll on workers and management.

“We (going through) hardship,” said Nerissa Acdal, who along with her husband work as housekeeping staff at the Moana Surfrider Hotel.

“But being in this fight is important because it will not only benefit me and my husband ... but this is for our kids too.”

The Kalihi resident said relatives are helping her family pay their rent and that she’s been able to convince her bank to give her an extension on her monthly car loan payments.

“Everyone out here is struggling. Everybody is sacrificing and it would be foolish to go back now without anything," added John-Mark Guillermo, a striking Sheraton Waikiki employee.

The strike is the longest since 1970, when 2,000 neighbor island hotel workers struck for 75 days.

Today’s strike is is now 32 days old. Experts say it’s also taking a huge toll on management as well as the visitor industry’s reputation.

“Nobody wins in this. The workers really don’t recover the funds, the tips they would have gotten so they suffer,” said Keith Vieira, a former Starwood and Sheraton hotel executive.

“For the hotel teams, the managers are working 10-hour shifts and then doing their regular jobs every day. So they’re putting in 18-19 hour days so they don’t win."

Union and management teams will be meeting today and tomorrow in another round of talks.

Both sides have already reached agreement on a number of issues. But they’re still in talks over wages, benefits and work hours.

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