Union taking boycott to Japan
ILWU Local 142 will escalate its ongoing consumer boycott on HTH Corp. by partnering with Japan-based unions to distribute thousands of leaflets in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district.
Japan's international transport and dock workers, along with other union supporters, will pass out leaflets tomorrow evening in front of the Yuurakucho Marion Building. The leaflets advise potential Japan-based Hawaii visitors of an ongoing labor dispute with HTH Corp. and ask that they avoid patronizing the Pacific Beach Hotel and its sister property the Pagoda Hotel and Restaurant.
ILWU Local 142 and members of the Justice at the Beach, a coalition of community groups and lawmakers, called for a consumer boycott in December against Pacific Beach Hotel owner HTH Corp., expressing outrage at the company's refusal to engage in bargaining with the union and its decision to lay off 32 workers.
But since the union estimates that 75 to 80 percent of Pacific Beach Hotel guests come from Japan, union activists extended their efforts across the ocean at the start of the year, said Eadie Omonaka, a spokeswoman for ILWU 142.
"We wanted to reach Japanese customers to let them know what has been going on at the Pacific Beach Hotel, Omonaka said.
The union also will target Japanese visitors in Hawaii by organizing all-day picket lines during Golden Week, April 29 to May 6, she said.
Robert Minicola, regional vice president of operations for HTH Corp, said the company has known about ILWU Local 142's efforts in Japan for several months. In response to the most new leafleting plan, Minicola said, "Business is slow and this would just affect work opportunities for the hourly employees."
Japanese travel-industry union groups Service-Rengo and IUF-JCC sent letter last month to HTH Corp. in support of the hotel workers, Omonaka said.
"We are going to inform major travel agents in Japan of the dispute in the Pacific Beach Hotel," said Yutaka Kashara, president of Service-Rengo, whose members include workers at the travel agencies JTB, Kinki, Nippon Tourist, Nippon Travel Agency and Toptour Corp.