Waikiki hotel union negotiations continue
Local 5's labor contracts with the hotels expired last night
There is no set agreement in the labor negotiations between Waikiki's largest hotels and some 6,500 Local 5 union workers, yet there are no expectations of a strike.
When the next meetings are planned
Here are the scheduled sessions for hotel labor talks:
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa
July 6, 7
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
July 10, 11
July 11, 12
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
July 6, 7, 11, 12, 13
Updates are available at www.laulimacouncil.com.
Labor contracts between Unite Here Local 5 and the hotels expired at midnight, but talks are expected to continue into July.
The hotels affected include Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel and Sheraton hotels in Waikiki.
"Now we are at the last hour," said Gary Seibert, managing director of the Hilton Hotels in Hawaii, who stepped out of negotiations late yesterday afternoon to speak to the press. "Our aim is to continue to work hard at bringing these negotiations to a close."
Seibert said he was determined to continue driving forward. Rather than seek an extension of the contract-expiration deadline, he said he wanted the pressure of working towards an agreement.
Talks between Unite Here Local 5 and Hawaii's major hotels began in June.
"We were hoping to start as early as March or April," Seibert said. "It's our intention to stay at the table and work as hard as we can."
Hilton on Thursday proposed an annual average wage increase of 3.25 percent.
If accepted, hourly wages for the hotel's employees would increase by 50 cents for nontipped employees, and by 24 cents for tipped employees in the first year. In the second year, hourly wages for nontipped employees would go up 51 cents, while those for tipped employees would go up 25 cents. Increases would continue in the same increments in the third and fourth years.
The four-year total increase in hourly wages would come to $2.09 for nontipped employees, and $1.02 for tipped employees.
"We feel that this is a good proposal," said Seibert. "This is a generous proposal compared to others around the country."
The 3.25 percent increase surpasses those negotiated at other hotels, he said, including the Mauna Lani Resort and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, as well as that of a Unite Here settlement in Washington, D.C.
Hilton also proposed $40 monthly employee parking, streamlining classifications in food-and-beverage operations and starting a joint task force with Local 5 to attract more native Hawaiian applicants.
Cade Watanabe, a spokesman for Local 5, said yesterday it was too early to formalize a response to the proposal by Hilton.
"We are definitely going to remain flexible, and that is the mindset we are bringing to the table at this time," he said. "We will continue our talks as we strive for a good contract for our members."
With yesterday's midnight expiration of the contracts, a clause prohibiting strikes and lockouts is no longer in effect. But Watanabe said the group intended to continue its talks and was not headed in that direction.
Seibert said he could not say whether this offer was the best offer yet put forth by Hilton. More talks with Local 5 are scheduled for July 11 and 12.
Michael Jokovich, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, said his negotiators have met only once with Local 5, and received a proposal on noneconomic issues, but were also hoping to find a resolution as soon as possible.