Hotel strike expands: 7,770 workers demand more wages, including employees in Hawaii

Workers at some of Hawaii's most iconic hotels are joining a national strike.

About 2,700 Marriott employees on Oahu and Maui on Monday joined the strike that began last week in Boston, San Francisco and other cities, bringing the total number of people on strike to about 7,700.

Outside the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, union workers say their jobs aren't paying enough to live on.  "I'm one rent payment from the street and for me and so many of my co-workers its normal," said Marriott server Nicholas Javier.

"I have an apartment that I cannot afford to pay by myself anymore. I had to bring in my son, his wife and their children in order to survive and live in this city," says Marriott Housekeeping Supervisor Candida Kaevorkian. 

She said she had to give up her privacy to keep her two-bedroom apartment in South San Francisco, which cost more than $2,600 a month.  "One job should be enough to pay your bills, pay the rent and put food on the table," Kaevorkian said. 

In a statement last week, Marriott expressed disappointment at the strike, stating in part, "While we respect our associates' right to participate in this work stoppage,  we also will welcome any associate who chooses to continue to work."

Marriott has brought in temporary workers for the duration of the strike.

"Our hotels are open and we stand ready to provide excellent service," reads the statement. 

The employees in Hawaii work at five properties operated by Marriott. The properties are all owned by Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts and include The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a historic institution famous for its pink exterior.

Unite Here Local 5 union leaders say management hasn't agreed to a demand that workers to be paid enough so they only need one job to support themselves.

Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts says it's committed to good-faith bargaining and hopes to resolve the situation in a timely manner.

Waikiki Beach Marriott workers are not currently striking.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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