Hotel workers protest, calling for protection ahead of tourism restart

Hotel workers protest, calling for protection ahead of tourism restart
Workers protested outside the State Capitol Monday. (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A caravan of hotel workers rolled through Honolulu Monday with a message for lawmakers.

Dozens of Local 5 members and their supporters made their way from the Kakaako Waterfront Park to the Capitol.

They say politicians need to make worker safety a priority before reopening tourism. They’re also demanding that hotel operators provide healthcare coverage and bring back all employees who were laid off as a result of the economic downturn.

“At least five hotels so far have already given workers notice that they’re permanently discharged and they have to apply for their jobs again. That’s just not right,” Eric Gill of UNITE HERE! Local 5 said.

The union is asking lawmakers to use some of the state’s federal funds to provide workers with proper training and supplies to deal with the pandemic.

Part of their message during the protest: “Safe Hotels = Safe Hawaii.”

“It’s been very hard for me since the pandemic because we are out from work and it’s very hard for us to apply and file for unemployment,” Waikiki Beach Marriott Housekeeper Maria Cainguitan said.

Protests also took place on Maui and Hawaii Island. Organizers said over 200 vehicles of workers and supporters took part in Oahu’s convoy.

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