HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 500 food service workers at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport are on strike on Thursday, calling for better pay and benefits.
This is the first time that UNITE HERE Local 5 members of HMSHost have gone on strike in Hawaii, organizers said.
A cluster of workers began picketing around 3 a.m., with a larger presence expected later in the morning.
Organizers said the strike, which was authorized last month, aims to put pressure on HMSHost, the company that provides food service at the airport. They’re demanding the company “provide livable wages” and free union health care.
The contract between HMSHost and Local 5 expired last December, and negotiations had been ongoing for the past few months.
Bryant De Venecia, communications director for Local 5, said he was aware that the strike is happening during a busy travel season but believed this was an opportune time to spread the message.
“Our purpose here is not to disrupt travelers,” De Venecia said. “We want to give a message that we are demanding commitment from HMSHost that they should be providing livable good jobs for local people. We’re not intending to inconvenience travelers or disrupt any plans.”
The strike, which is expected to last three days, affects 25 concession stands, restaurants, bars and other establishments at the airport.
During the strike, travelers are being told that there will be limited food service in the airport.
“Passengers may want to consider bringing their own food and snacks with them if they are traveling out of HNL,” the state said, in a news release.
For a list of food items allowed through TSA checkpoints, click here.
This story will be updated.