Healthcare, hospitality workers rally in Waianae to protect local jobs

Hospitality and health care workers sign wave in Waianae to protect local jobs.
Hospitality and health care workers sign wave in Waianae to protect local jobs.(Unite Here Local 5)
Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 5:16 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:45 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of healthcare and hospitality workers with Unite Here Local 5 rallied in Waianae on Saturday to protect local jobs.

Members from a dozen labor unions across the tourism and healthcare industries waved signs to bring awareness to several issues facing some of Hawaii’s workers.

On the tourism front, Local 5 said nearly 4,000 hospitality employees are still waiting to go back to work even though the state is seeing an influx in visitors.

Meanwhile, in the healthcare industry, Local 5 members at Kaiser Permanente said they are frustrated over the company’s plan to subcontract jobs out of California.

Demonstrators said they chose to organize in Waianae to urge Kaiser Permanente to reopen the Nanaikeola clinic, which has been closed. Members said they are demanding the healthcare provider reinstate the leeward community’s access to these resources.

“Big corporations like the hotels and Kaiser Permanente are using this pandemic as an excuse to implement changes that make it harder for our community to survive,” said Zena Nasau, a hotel worker and resident at the Nanakuli Homesteads.

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente responded, saying,” As the COVID-19 situation stabilizes in Hawaii due to ongoing vaccination efforts, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii remains firmly committed to providing access to high-quality care across the state and ensuring we have a sustainable infrastructure in place to serve our members for years to come.”

They recently announced the reopening of several clinics, and say no job cuts are planned.

“With the opening of our NextGen West Oahu Medical Office at Kapolei in April, we’ve made the decision to keep Nanaikeola Clinic closed. Primary care services that were based at this clinic will remain at the new West Oahu Medical Office, which is less than 7 miles away and where we have added new staff positions to better serve our patients. All staff from Nanaikeola were reassigned to other facilities during the pandemic so we do not anticipate any job losses due to this change.”

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