Over 500 HMSHost Honolulu airport workers just announced that they’ve gone on strike at one of the busiest travel times of the year.
The union members, who are represented by the Unite Here Local 5, work at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport’s concessions, restaurants, Starbucks, bars, pantry and maintenance departments where they serve nearly 10 million customers in Hawaii annually. Their collective bargaining agreement with the company expired in December 2018.
Workers, who voted overwhelmingly in November to authorize a strike, headed to the picket lines after determining their Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 contract negotiations with HMSHost “saw little movement.” Workers want better wages and benefits.
HMSHost could not be reached for an immediate comment this morning.
Carol Madrid-Tagle, a server at PGA Tour Grill for 20 years, said, “My husband and I both work at HMSHost. We love our jobs but we’re on strike because we deserve good wages and free union health care. For years, my husband worked two jobs, yet we still cannot afford a place big enough for our family. This fight is about getting what we need from companies like HMSHost that make billions off of our hard work.”
Local 5 represents approximately 11,500 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries.
It’s the same union that represented Kyo-ya Hotel workers in last year’s 51-day strike, which involved workers at Hotel owner Kyo-ya’s Marriott-managed properties, including the Sheraton Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and Sheraton Maui.
The Kyo-ya strike, the longest hotel strike in modern times in Hawaii, ended with Kyo-ya offering hotel workers a new four-year contract with up to $6.13 per hour in pay and benefit increases. The union then used pattern bargaining to reach similar deals with other hotel companies.