William Degala was one of many hotel workers who were out picketing in Waikiki yesterday. He works for the Moana.

draw crowd

Curious visitors join
in the demonstration

Vegas casinos picketed

By Lyn Danninger

Several hundred noisy and enthusiastic union hotel workers took to the streets of Waikiki yesterday afternoon chanting and waving signs as they picketed the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider.

The action came in the wake of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5 canceling employee contracts with the hotel chain on Friday. With that action, the union can picket Sheraton hotels without danger of liability and announce a strike without notice.

Curious visitors who assembled on the lanai of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider yesterday seemed mostly bemused as they viewed the action and snapped photos of picketers.

One visitor even asked if he could have one of the signs carried by union members as a souvenir, said Bruce Robertson, who works at the Sheraton Waikiki and was part of the protest. There were also a couple of visitors dressed in swim suits who briefly joined in the picket line, he said.

Local 5 financial secretary-treasurer Eric Gill said workers are frustrated at the lack of progress in contract talks with Sheraton management that have been under way since April.

He described yesterday's action as strictly "an informational picket" and "a warm up.

"We can keep doing this," he said.

Gill indicated the union would not call a strike without first taking a membership vote but said the hotels could expect further picket activity in the coming weeks. July 18 is the next date scheduled for negotiations with Sheraton, he said.

Further picketing is scheduled next Tuesday at Sheraton's Royal Hawaiian hotel and the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel.

The union begins contract talks with Hilton Hotels tomorrow.

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