Hotel workers
reach agreement
with Sheraton

Hilton negotiations
continue tomorrow

By Leila Fujimori

Negotiators for unionized hotel workers reached an agreement with Sheraton hotels last night, averting a threatened strike.

Kerri Miyashiro, left, and Clinton Otsuka walked to the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom yesterday for a wedding reception. Functions like this will continue as normal after last night's agreement.

The announcement of the agreement on a four-year contract came at about 11:00 tonight after negotiators returned to the union’s strike headquarters with a proposal from the Sheraton hotels. Negations with Sheraton resumed at 1 p.m. today.

“This settlement is almost exactly where we hoped to end,” said Eric Gill, the financial secretary-treasurer of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is the tremendous improvement in the working lives of our subcontracted employees,” Gill said.

He said the contract will bring employees of subcontractors on par with hotel employees over the next five years.

Non-tipped employees will see an increase in pay of $1.60 an hour over four years and tipped employees will see a 45 cents an hour increase over the life of the contract. He said health benefits will remain the same and there will be an increase in pension benefits of $1.00 an hour.

The contract would be effective as of June 1, so employees would see some retroactive pay. The union says the agreement could be a basis for a settlement with other Waikiki hotels. The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5 is negotiating separately with each hotel group.

Gill said ratification would probably not take place until an agreement is reached with the Hilton and Hyatt hotels.

Negotiations with Hilton Hawaiian Village were expected to resume today.

The members of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 5 had authorized a strike against Sheraton and Hilton hotels last month and the union opened a strike headquarters last week on Labor Day.

Local 5 represents some 4,000 Hilton and Sheraton hotel workers, who have been without a contract since February.

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