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Monday, January 22, 2001

Labor group
urges boycott of
isle tour firm

Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays
is being targeted over contract
talks with Maui hotel workers

By Rob Perez

A labor organization in California is urging union members to boycott the biggest producer of mainland tour packages to Hawaii, claiming the company's founder is dealing unfairly with workers at a unionized Maui hotel he owns.

The Tri-Counties Labor Federation, an umbrella organization for union members in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, today called for the boycott of Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays and its affiliate Pleasant Travel Services.

Both companies are based in Ventura County.

Pleasant Hawaiian founder Ed Hogan also owns the Royal Lahaina Resort, where about 300 employees are represented by the International Longershore & Warehouse Union. The workers have been trying to negotiate a new contract since May.

Claiming Hogan is treating the workers unfairly, the federation, which represents 55,000 members, urged members who travel to Hawaii to use companies besides Pleasant Hawaiian.

"It is a shame that Mr. Hogan, who has grown so rich from the labor of Hawaii hotel workers, doesn't treat those same workers with the respect they deserve," said Marilyn Valenzuela, secretary-treasurer of the federation, in a statement. "Companies who mistreat their workers don't deserve to be patronized by union members."

But Hogan disputed the allegations, saying he treats his workers well. He said the call for a boycott is the result of false propaganda spread by outside union activists.

"This is a cruel act by these people in hurting the commerce of Hawaii," Hogan said.

Gordon Lafer, an ILWU representative, said he expects the boycott to be adopted by other labor organizations on the West Coast, where Pleasant gets much of its business.

"We want tourists to keep coming to Hawaii and to the Royal Lahaina," Lafer said. "But they can come here without having to use Pleasant Hawaiian."

Lafer said the two sides are far apart on issues ranging from wages to pensions.

He said Royal Lahaina workers are paid well below their counterparts at other Maui hotels.

The Maui hotels used to have a master contract for all union workers, but owners started negotiating separate agreements in the mid-1990s, Lafer said.

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