Layoff deadline approaches for some Pacific Beach workers
STORY SUMMARY »
One day before HTH Corp. resumes management of the Pacific Beach Hotel, a gulf remains between the company and the union representing its workers.
About 45 of the 450 union workers at the hotel are losing their jobs in the transition from PBH Management to HTH, which owns the property.
ILWU Local 142 and HTH both have federal labor charges pending in the case.
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Pacific Beach Hotel workers who are losing their jobs in the management changeover at the Waikiki property gathered on the eve of their last day to tell their stories.
Today is the last day the 837-room Pacific Beach Hotel is being run by PBH Management, an affiliate of Outrigger Enterprise Group. Tomorrow, an affiliate of HTH Corp., the long-time owner of the hotel, will take over management, with a reduced workforce.
As part of the transition, all hotel employees were laid off by PBH Management, which is being dissolved with the loss of its management contract. HTH Corp. has rehired about 90 percent of the 450 union members at the 535-employee hotel. The union, ILWU Local 142, contends that all workers should have been rehired.
"After years of what we consider stalling tactics in negotiations, Pacific Beach is about to commit one of the most notorious mass firings in recent Hawaii history," said Dave Mori, the Oahu division director for ILWU Local 142.
The union has accused HTH Corp. and PBH Management of using "legal games and gimmicks" to displace the union and has filed 21 charges against the companies with the National Labor Relations Board.
Meanwhile, Pacific Beach Corp., the division of HTH Corp. that will run Pacific Beach Hotel, has also filed NLRB charges against the union.
Despite tensions at the property, HTH Corp. said yesterday that it looks forward to renewing its relationship with Pacific Beach Hotel employees.
"We have worked very hard to provide as many jobs as possible at Pacific Beach Hotel and we are confident the employees support our efforts," said Robert Minicola, regional vice president of HTH Corp. "However, the occupancy trends in Waikiki have declined and (caused) our business forecast for 2008 to remain flat."
About 45 workers, 11 of them from the hotel's now-closed Shogun restaurant, will not be rehired by HTH Corp., the company said. HTH Corp. said that some of these workers were offered jobs and declined them, others did not reapply for new jobs and jobs could not be found for the remainder.
Virgie Recaido, a single mother of three, said that she was one of the six employees on the union's negotiating committee who was not offered a job. The ILWU contends that most of the workers who were not hired by HTH Corp. were union supporters.
"I have a family to feed, but I wanted to stand up and do the right thing," Recaido said with tears in her eyes. "I've been a good housekeeper for 15 years. We work so hard, we don't take a lunch break."
Alejandro Valdez, a utility worker at Pacific Beach Hotel whose last day is today, said that he's worried he'll have to move back to the Philippines. He's already had to transfer his new home to his sister because he feared that he wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage.