Pacific Beach Hotel cited for contempt of court

Published: Nov. 23, 2011 at 10:27 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

By Howard Dicus

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Pacific Beach Hotel, its owners, and its management, face penalties after a federal contempt of court citation for failure to rehire fired union organizers with back pay.

U.S. District Court for Hawaii this week granted a petition for injunction sought by the National Labor Relations Board, which has found repeated violations of federal labor law but has been unable to get the hotel to abide by its orders.

The NLRB found that the hotel, a large property on the east side of Waikiki famous for its massive Oceanarium fish tank, has meddled with, failed to recognize, and refused to negotiate with, Local 142 of the ILWU.

"Once again, the court agrees that the hotel has engaged in unfair labor practices," the district court order said, issuing its second injunction in two years along with a contempt of order citation for failure to heed the first one.

The federal court order calls for CEO Corine Watanabe or President John Hayashi, the daughter and nephew of hotel founder Herbert Hayashi, to stand before their employees and read what will amount to a court-approved admission of company misdeeds.

The Pacific Beach Hotel's poor relations with its union came to public notice in recent years when the company repeatedly changed management contractors, each time making its workers reapply for their own jobs.

The hotel has argued that ILWU does not really represent the work force but has been unable to persuade either the NLRB or the courts of this, and court orders against the company have been detailed in accounts of corporate transgressions.

For example, the new order makes a point of saying a union organizer "was disciplined for his failure to follow various unwritten rules," and includes many pages of accounts of incidents that to the man's firing, concluding that a charge that the man deceived a supervisor was "absurd." The order says while the union organizer was fired for questionable causes, employees who were not union organizers were not fired except for such violations as sleeping on the job, failing to report for three days, or filling out a time card for a day one did not work. The order is also critical of hotel executive Robert Minicola, at one point saying, "Nor do any of Minicola's other excuses hold water."

"Our intention is to compliy to the best of our ability," said Minicola in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "However, we are still reviewing our legal actions."

The court order, dated Monday, gives the Pacific Beach Hotel five days to offer written reinstatement of the fired union organizer and rescind unilateral changes to work rules, including an increase in the number of rooms a housekeeper must clean during a shift. It also says, "Within 10 days of the date of this order, convene the bargaining unit employees during working time at the employer's facility, by shifts, where CEO Corine Watanabe, President John Hayashi, and Robert Minicola shall be present, and either CEO Corine Watanabe or President John Hayashi shall publicly read, in the present of a National Labor Relations Board agent, the court's separate-entered order...."

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.