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With hotels near full capacity, guests and employees want daily room cleaning back

Guests of the Modern Honolulu and Ilikai Hotel were caught off guard by the lack of daily room...
Guests of the Modern Honolulu and Ilikai Hotel were caught off guard by the lack of daily room cleaning.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 5:52 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 24, 2021 at 6:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As summer traveler numbers continue to climb, hospitality workers are not only wanting to return to work — they’re also calling for some hotels to bring back daily cleaning services.

Unite Here Local 5 rallied outside of the Modern Honolulu and Ilikai Hotel on Friday protesting their decision to make room cleaning optional instead of the daily services that were offered before the pandemic.

After meeting with the Modern Honolulu’s management, the union tells Hawaii News Now there is still no plan to bring back daily room cleaning any time soon.

“We asked them why, their responses, it’s not their model,” said Gemma Weinstein, president of Unite Here Local 5. “So, what does that mean? I don’t know.”

“Because prior to pandemic, they’re doing a daily service and they find a way to excuse themselves to cut labor costs,” she added.

Hotel guests were also caught off guard by the lack of daily room cleaning.

“A little disheartened that we’ve come so far, and we have to do housekeeping as if we were home,” said Deborah Dwarte who was staying at the Modern Honolulu.

“We’re here on vacation, but here we are cleaning up our own stuff and taking out our own towels and taking out our own trash just like at home,” said Deandrew Mearis who was staying at the Ilikai Hotel. “So yeah, it is kind of frustrating.”

Weinstein who is also a housekeeper said those cleaning the rooms are having to deal with unhappy guests.

“We have housekeepers that are being yelled at because their room is not being cleaned,” said Weinstein. “Whose fault is that? It’s not the housekeepers, it’s the management. But who’s facing the guests: The workers.”

According to the union, hotels are seeing nearly 100% in guest occupancy, but only 62% of its members have returned to work.

They asked for their jobs back, but the union says even that was denied. “So, it’s not surprising but disappointing,” said Eric, financial secretary of Unite Here Local 5.

“We were hoping that Diamond Resorts would see the way clear to bring back all the housekeepers that are still at home, even though they’re at 100% occupancy.”

Hawaii News Now reached out to the Modern Honolulu and the Ilikai Hotel for comment and are waiting to hear back.

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