Hotel workers rally at Hilton’s and Hawaii’s largest hotel on International Women’s Day

Hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 5 members who work at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the largest Hilton in the world and the largest hotel in Hawaii, who work in housekeeping, food & beverage, engineering, front desk, and more will be joined by non-union hotel workers from the DoubleTree Hilton Alana Waikiki, today, Friday, March 8, from 3:30 to 5:45 pm with a march to the beach that will start at 4:30 pm followed by a rally at 5:30. The members as well as community supporters and Local 5 members from other workplaces are calling on Hilton for a fair process to decide whether to unionize.

With eight union contracts settled and 12 more hotel contracts remaining, the “One Job Should Be Enough” campaign continues for collective bargaining agreements at 20 Local 5 hotels which expired in 2018. Local 5 now turns its attention to making one job enough for other hotel workers, other Local 5 members who work in healthcare and food service, and the broader community of working people.

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Local 5 represents over around 1,800 workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village – the largest hotel in Hawaii and the largest Hilton hotel in the world – as well as nearly 200 workers at Hawaii Care & Cleaning (HCC), who are subcontracted to do housekeeping work at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Their union contracts expired in July 2018. Contract negotiations with Hilton will commence on March 22 and 23.

The rally will be held on International Women’s Day, which Local 5 participates in every year. “International Women’s Day is a big part of our union’s history, and it historically focused on the working conditions of women. We honor the previous generations of women by continuing their fight for better working conditions, wages, and benefits. Because of our historic Marriott strike, Marriott workers won an amazing union contract that includes protection for women workers from harassment from guests, safe workloads for pregnant women, and more. The Hilton workers and all workers deserve a good union contract as well,” says Gemma Weinstein, President of Local 5.

The first International Woman’s Day (IWD) was observed in 1911. Weeks later, the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City took the lives of 146 working women, most of them immigrants.

This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in the U.S. that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) successfully fought for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

ILGWU later became the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) in 1995. Then in 2004, it merged with Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) in 2004 to create a new union known as UNITE HERE.

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