Employees strike at Marriott hotel properties in Hawaii
by Lalaine Ignao, ABS-CBN News
HONOLULU, HI — More than 8,000 members of Unite Here, the union that represents hotel workers, voted to strike at Marriott International properties where contracts have expired, in various locations all over the U.S. — including Oahu and Maui.
The union said more than 12,000 Marriott employees are working under expired contracts in the U.S. In Hawaii, 3,500 workers are affected.
Many locals work multiple jobs in order to survive living in paradise and within the hotel industry alone, 65% of the workers are of Filipino ethnicity. The seven Marriott-operated hotels involved are Waikiki Beach Marriott, Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Sheraton Kauai, and Sheraton Maui.
These workers could call a strike at any moment.
These hotel workers said the $22 an hour they earn is not enough to survive Hawaii’s high cost of living. They want a ten dollar raise from one of the world’s largest hotel operators.
They said Marriott has the means to take care of their employees. After all, in 2017 alone, the company generated close to 23 billion dollars in revenue.
Marriott expressed that it hoped strikes wouldn’t take place. The company said it is negotiating in good faith and that its strength is rooted in their core value of putting people first.