Pacific Beach Hotel workers hold rally
They want their jobs and benefits after a management change
Union workers at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki held a one-hour rally outside the hotel yesterday seeking a commitment from the owner that all their jobs and benefits be retained when management of the hotel changes in December.
The 837-room hotel is owned by HTH Corp. and employs about 535 workers, of whom about 450 are members of ILWU Local 142.
Just last year, the Pacific Beach Hotel technically fired all its employees as part of a transition to a new hotel management company. However, the company assured them their jobs would be "continuous," as they would all be rehired by the new manager, PBH Management LLC, an affiliate of Outrigger Enterprises.
Now that the management contract is itself being terminated, as of the end of November, the employees are again being fired -- this time with a less-firm commitment that their jobs and benefits will be retained under the new management company, which will be an HTH affiliate, Pacific Beach Corp.
Robert "Mick" Minicola, HTH Corp. regional vice president of operations, said yesterday that HTH's intention "is to not do anything bad to the employees; it never was," but "for legal reasons, everybody has to reapply."
He said the company has scheduled meetings over the next several weeks to explain wage and benefit packages, but it can't commit specifically to rehiring every current worker.
"We are evaluating our staffing needs, given the decreased visitor count to Waikiki, and we'll see how many hotel employees submit applications," he said. "We have ample time to complete the staffing and hiring process before Dec. 1."
Minicola added that he would like to talk with the union, "but we can't negotiate with the union yet because we're not the employer yet."
Union spokesman Dave Mori said yesterday the workers just want to know their jobs are secure.
"A year ago they had announced it would be seamless and the workers would be retained, but now the owner is saying that they cannot guarantee or ensure anyone their jobs, which is not right," Mori said. "As far as we're concerned, it doesn't matter who manages the hotel; it's the same workers. So that is what the rally is about."
"We hope that Pacific Beach Corp. as the owner and employer will do the right thing and keep all of the current employees who were their employees 10 months ago," he added.