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StarBulletin.com

Report upholds ruling on Pacific Beach staff


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POSTED: Friday, October 16, 2009

The “;Truth Commission,”; an independent group of religious, community and academic leaders, released a report yesterday validating a judge's ruling on the labor practices at Pacific Beach Hotel.

The report, distributed in front of the state Capitol, reaffirmed the recent ruling by administrative law Judge James Kennedy that the hotel's parent, HTH Corp., violated workers' rights to unionize and refused to recognize the ILWU Local 142 as the workers' representative.

“;The labor strife at Pacific Beach Hotel has been ongoing for far too long, hurting the workers and the company,”; said Raymund Liongson, a committee member and professor at Leeward Community College. “;Our findings and the (judge's) decision clearly show that the owner has mismanaged the hotel and used fear and intimidation to suppress its employees from speaking out.”;

Workers at the hotel were working in a climate of fear, said the report, besides getting lower wages and longer hours.

More than 85 percent are Filipino, according to Liongson, and employees who were known to support the union had their hours cut or were given worse assignments.

Thirty-two workers, including most of the ones elected to a negotiating committee, at the 837-room Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki lost their jobs in 2007.

Among them were Rhandy Villanueva, who had worked there 14 years in housekeeping, and Ruben Bumanglag, who had worked in maintenance for 12 years.

Both said that if the union and hotel came to an agreement, they would return to work at Pacific Beach because of the years they spent there, calling it a second family.

The committee said it hoped that with community pressure, the hotel would return to the bargaining table in good faith.

Kennedy ordered the hotel to reinstate jobs for seven union negotiating committee members with back pay. He gave them 14 days to comply.