Finally! After 51 days of striking, Marriott Hawaii and the Union reach an agreement! Now, things can get back to normal, though we’ll have to see what lasting damage the strikes may leave behind.
On October 8, 2,700 Marriott Hawaii employees at legacy Starwood properties walked off the job. Their union, Unite Here Local 5, decried that one job should be enough. Plus, the Union insisted on better working conditions and protections for its member. That’s a tall order to fill, as in my interpretation, the Union is asking for more leniency, less work, and more pay. How much pay? At least $3/hour more in the first year with an ultimate goal of at least $35/hour. And remember, the average pay for those 2,700 employees today is $22/hour plus benefits and complimentary meals. So the Union’s demands are not insignificant. But they claim that Marriott is loaded (though Marriott doesn’t own the individual hotels) so employees should get more.
Of course, any offer by Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts was deemed as not good enough. Full details aren’t available, but the other week Kyo-Ya offered its workers the highest raise of any striking Marriott in the U.S. and a workload reduction. And, of course, the Union was not happy with that offer either, so they went back to the bargaining table. And yesterday, after weeks of negotiating, they finally came to an agreement.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the new contract breakdown as follows:
- For the first year, non-tipped employees will get a $1.50/hour increase plus $0.20/hour for medical, $0.13/hour for pension, and $0.10/hour for a child/elder care fund
- Tipped employees receive all of the above in the first year, but get a $0.75/hour base pay increase instead of $1.50
- Then, in 2019, the total pay and benefits increase amounts to $1/hour
- In 2020 employees receive a $1.76/hour pay and benefits increase
- And, finally, in 2021, employees receive a $1.44/hour pay and benefits increase
That’s a far cry from the $3/hour first year increase the Union was demanding and is more in-line with the $0.70/hour increase Kyo-ya originally proposed. And, remember, today those employees earn $22/hour plus benefits. But, the employees seem to be happy about it. After all, they did ratify the new contract in a vote last night.
Marriott Hawaii and the Union Reach an Agreement, Final Thoughts
With the contract ratification, the Marriott Strike in Hawaii is finally over. And thank goodness too. I feel for guests that got stuck at the affected properties with a subpar and sometimes even nightmarish experience. People work hard to be able to, in many cases, have a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Hawaii, so it’s sad when those experiences get ruined by things like this. Furthermore, the Union didn’t only disrupt guests at affected properties, they also chased people off beaches and caused problems for non-affiliated hotels too.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. People should have the right to vote if they’re unionized. But this strike was done in a way that made it far more damaging than it needed to be. Yes, voice your opinion and do what you feel is right, but don’t be obnoxious to others. Don’t harm others’ business. And at the end of the day, was the strike really even worth it? Is one job enough now? Will one job be enough at the end of the current contract?