Turtle Bay and union settle dispute
The tentative labor agreement for the resort still must be ratified by union members
Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu's only major hotel on the North Shore, and hotel workers union Unite Here Local 5 have reached a tentative labor agreement that could end years of contentious negotiations, a consumer boycott of the property and several pending legal proceedings.
Details of the agreement, which was reached on Wednesday between Local 5 and Turtle Bay property manager Benchmark Hospitality, will not be released until union members have had a chance to ratify the contract, said Michelle Andrews, a spokeswoman for Local 5.
"Our members are happy with the settlement, and we are pleased to welcome all of our valued guests back to the resort," said Eric Gill, Local 5's secretary treasurer.
A ratified agreement would end nearly four years of strife between hotel management and the union. Turtle Bay union members, who have been working without a contract since 2002, steadfastly sought pay, benefits and job protection similar to those at other Hawaii hotels.
STAR-BULLETIN / JUNE 2005
Local 5 union members -- including, from front to back, Bonnie Corrigan, Greg Elliott and Shannon Ancheta -- walk the picket lines in front of the Turtle Bay Resort entrance.
The resulting consumer boycott of the hotel, which began in 2003, and job walk-offs hurt employees and management alike, resulting in lost wages for union workers and lost revenues for Benchmark. By last summer, tensions had escalated into several court proceedings and gained notice by area churches, the National Labor Relations Board and members of the Hawaii Legislature and political community.
Last June, a federal judge rejected a request for a temporary restraining order by the hotel to prevent union employees from picketing at the entrance to the property.
Shortly after that request was denied, Kyle Kajihiro, program director of the American Friends Service Committee, sued the owners and managers of Turtle Bay Resort and its head of security, alleging resort security attacked him during a one-day union strike. That suit, which was partially funded by Local 5, is in settlement discussions as well.
A new contract, the first to be renewed since 1999, is expected to usher in an era of cooperation at the resort, which has long struggled to position itself as a luxury contender in Oahu's marketplace.
"I'm sure our employees are equally happy about reaching this important milestone so we can continue to focus all our attention back to meeting the needs of our guests at the Turtle Bay Resort," said Bob Boyle, managing director of the resort.