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Hyatt Waikiki workers vote to support boycott


Union workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki voted today to make a consumer boycott part of their fight to get a new contract.

Unite Here Local 5 spokesman Cade Watanabe said 89 percent of the union workers voted for the boycott. The boycott will be the first time in four years that the union has organized such an action against a major Oahu hotel.

"The consumer boycott of the Turtle Bay Hotel & Resort ended successfully in 2006," Watanabe said.

Union contracts for over 500 hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki expired on June 30, he said.

In 2010, Hyatt workers participated in a civil disobedience action and a one-day strike. Earlier this year, union workers demonstrated in front of the hotel’s lobby.

"Union hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki are fighting to defend and maintain their union contract standard that include putting an end to subcontracting and providing safe working conditions for workers," Watanabe said.

To date, at least 17 other Hyatt hotels across North America are currently under boycott, he said.

This latest union action and all the others are motivated by a national agenda, said David Lewin, Hyatt Regency Waikiki general manager.

"It’s unfortunate that the union spends its time boycotting and picketing instead of negotiating in good faith," Lewin said.

On May 4, Hyatt made Local 5 an offer that matched the wages, pensions and benefits and most of the work rules that were agreed to in earlier contracts between Hilton and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, he said. The company and the union will return to the bargaining table on June 27, Lewin said.

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