Hotel workers union reaches deal with NLRB
Unite Here Local 5, the Hawaii hotel workers union, reached a settlement this week with the National Labor Relations Board over allegations the labor organization violated workers rights by forcing non-union members to pay for activities unrelated to collective bargaining.
Grant Suzuki, a Hilton Hawaiian Village electrician, filed a complaint with the NLRB against Local 5 in March.
The National Right to Work Foundation provided free legal aid to Suzuki.
Patrick Ashby, a spokesman for the NRTW, said Local 5 violated the rights of Suzuki and an estimated 100 other similarly situated nonmembers by requiring them to pay into strike funds that were subject to use in strikes in industries such as health care and entertainment -- including some located in Guam and Saipan.
Though the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a union hotel and Hawaii is a compulsory union membership state, employees such as Suzuki have the right to resign their union membership if they choose, Ashby said.
Employees who have chosen not to participate in the union are not subject to the labor organization's structure or discipline, though they cannot opt out of paying collective bargaining fees, he said.
As a result of the settlement, Suzuki's $10-a-month strike fund contribution will be earmarked for Hawaii, said Michelle Andrews, a spokeswoman for Local 5.
"Nothing has really changed," Andrews said. "The money was going to go to the hospitality industry anyway."
Suzuki and the NRTW, though pleased that Local 5 is now banned from charging non-union members' fees for activities that fall outside the realm of collective bargaining, plan to appeal the settlement, Ashby said.
"While the settlement was an incremental victory for employees' rights, it does not offer broad enough relief to workers," Ashby said.
Suzuki could not be reached for comment.