Progress being made in hotel labor talks
While Hilton Hawaiian Village and Unite Here Local 5 have made some progress during labor contract negotiations, union members still plan to host a marathon picket today outside of the hotel to express disapproval of Hilton's continued stance on its pension plan.
Hilton managers said they were encouraged by what they termed a "productive exchanges of proposals" in negotiations held a week ago.
"Both parties are very encouraged by the progress made and are looking forward to resuming negotiations during the week of Sept. 25," said Gary Seibert, area vice president and managing director for Hilton in Hawaii.
Local 5, which plans to return to the bargaining table with Hilton and Sheraton on Tuesday and Thursday, said that progress has been made but its members need to see more.
"If we were to compare the talks with Sheraton and with Hilton, it seemed to us that Hilton was more willing to step up to the plate and talk about issues that need to be addressed," union spokesman Cade Watanabe said.
Local 5 members still plan to host a marathon picket outside Hilton from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, he said.
"The hotels need to realize that we are prepared to strike and that the upcoming talks are critical," Watanabe said. "These pickets are designed to show the hotels what a strike would look like."
Hilton has proposed to increase the pension fund contribution rate from 80 cents to $1 for the last two years of the contract, but Local 5 members are disappointed with the offer, he said.
"Basically it's a take-away because they were promised $1 during the last negotiations and were expecting that rate to kick off now," Watanabe said.
Local 5 members also have expressed disappointment with Sheraton's response to the union's request for a better economic package, he said. Health and welfare and subcontracting also are outstanding issues, Watanabe said.
"We remain committed to the bargaining table," he said.
Sheraton's negotiation team has said that it reached tentative agreements with Local 5 on supplemental economic issues.
Sheraton has presented a detailed package for consideration that includes options related to job placement within the Waikiki properties, seniority and recall rights.
"Because of the extensive nature of the union proposal, many issues could not be addressed during the course of negotiations on Thursday. However, the company is committed to working with the union to come up with mutually agreeable approaches to resolve these very important issues," the company said in a statement on www.mysheratonohana.com, an informational Web site.