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Kyo-ya hotel workers OK strike

Unionized workers at four Kyo-ya-owned Starwood hotels have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.

UNITE HERE Local 5 officials said 97 percent of workers voting approved the strike authorization Wednesday.

The union and representatives for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which manages the hotels, haven’t negotiated since December. Contracts for more than 6,000 Hawaii hotel workers expired on June 30.

UNITE HERE Local 5 represents about 2,200 workers at the Sheraton Waikiki, Westin Moana Surfrider, Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani.

Darrell Asato, a waiter at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, said, "There’s no doubt that we made a strong statement of solidarity today. Our ‘yes’ vote is a strong indication that hotel workers in Hawaii are united behind the fight to secure good jobs for the future."

Angela Vento, Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ regional director of sales and marketing for Hawaii and French Polynesia, said, "This latest action by the union does not affect our strong resolve to negotiate a fair and equitable contract at the bargaining table that would provide for the needs of our associates, our guests and our community alike."

‘Off the Map’ makes Nielsen gains

The doctors in ABC’s freshman drama "Off the Map" appear to be holding their own in the ratings war, making gains Wednesday night in the overall viewer numbers and finishing second in the show’s target market, adults 18-49, according to Nielsen ratings released yesterday by the network.

"Off the Map," a Hawaii-based series, increased its total viewer numbers to 5 million viewers from 4.8 million, ABC said. The CBS drama "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" won the hour with 10.4 million viewers. NBC’s "Law & Order: SVU" finished second with 5.4 million viewers.

Among adults 18-49 this week, "Off the Map" finished second by attracting 1.7 percent of the total TV viewing audience and 5 percent of those who were watching TV at the time. "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" attracted 2.6 percent of the total audience and 8 percent of those watching TV at the time.

HPU offers businesses marketing plan

Hawaii Pacific University is offering local businesses an opportunity to get a free marketing plan drawn up by graduate students in the HPU’s business school.

Businesses that have received help from the school in the past decade include Zippy’s, Waikiki Beach Walk, Maui Brand Sugar, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Waikiki Aquarium, Vera Wang Boutique and the Hawaii Theatre.

"We’re looking for local companies that need help with their marketing," said course instructor Bob Sigall. "The students get real-world experience, and the companies get notebooks filled with every student’s marketing plan."

Interested businesses can call Sigall at 847-2046 or e-mail him at Sigall@Yahoo.com.

WalMart raises dividend 21 percent

BENTONVILLE, Ark. » Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said yesterday that it is increasing its annual dividend 21 percent, to $1.46 from $1.21.

The world’s largest retailer said it will pay quarterly dividends of 36.5 cents in April, June, September and January in fiscal 2012, which ends Jan. 31. The next dividend will be paid on April 4 to shareholders of record on March 11.

President and CEO Mike Duke said the company was able to boost its dividend because of its earnings performance in fiscal 2011 and its strong financial position.

ON THE MOVE

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii has appointed Sonya Moniz as human resources specialist. She has seven years’ experience in human resources, payroll and benefits administration.

Castle Resorts & Hotels has announced the following:

» Joe Bock has been appointed senior director of marketing. He was previously chief marketing officer of go! Mokulele.

» Jordan Joanou has been promoted to senior director of revenue management. He has 28 years of experience in the hotel industry in Hawaii.

» Craig Leeper has joined the company as general manager of rental operations at Kona Bali Kai on Hawaii. He was previously an operations manager at Hawaii Executive Homes in Kailua-Kona.

The Western Business Education Association presented Jean Hara with the "Distinguished Service Award" at the WBEA Conference last month in Tukwila, Wash. Hara is a business professor at Leeward Community College.

Oceanic Time Warner Cable has received the LEED Gold certification for implementing sustainable building strategies in the design concept of its Hilo facility.

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