ILWU Thanks Crumlin After Workers Agree Historic Hawaii Hotel Labour Contract

The ILWU has personally thanked the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and President Paddy Crumlin after workers overwhelmingly approved the first labor contract ever at the Pacific Beach Hotel, ending 10 years of labor strife that wound up in the courts.

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[Picture: Pickets were held daily in front of the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki]  

In a letter to ITF President Paddy Crumlin, ILWU President Robert McEllrath personally thanked him and the ITF for the solidarity provided during negotiations.

“I want to thank you for your support. We would have not been successful without the solidarity from the ITF.”

Local 142 of the ILWU announced approval by more than 99 percent of workers, and a source in the union said only one worker voted against it. Voting was completed at the beginning of the weekend and announced Monday morning.

Workers ratified a four-year contract with immediate 5 percent raises for non-tipped employees and 13 percent total over the full term of the agreement, with smaller raises for tipped employees. All employees won fully-paid medical care including dental, vision and drug. and eight paid holidays instead of three.

Employees first signed a unionisation petition in 2002. "For 10 plus years," the union said, "the workers endured mass firings, intimidation and other obstacles." At one point the owners hired Outrigger to manage the property, then, when a union agreement was near, dismissed Outrigger and created their own management company to be the outside management contractor, resetting contract talks to zero. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that there was effectively no difference between the new management company and the hotel itself.

Each time the management contractor changed, the hotel made employees reapply for their jobs.

In 2011, U.S. District Court for Hawaii for the second time granted an injunction sought by the NLRB, which found repeated violations of federal labor law but said it could not get the hotel ownership and management to abide by its orders. "Once again the court agrees that the hotel has engaged in unfair labor practices," ruling said.

The hotel appealed, but the lower court was upheld last year by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The owners went to the U.S. Supreme Court but the justices refused to hear the case.

The Pacific Beach Hotel specializes in Japanese trade and may have lost some of of that trade when the ILWU told Japanese labor unions what was going on. In 2008 the Japanese Trade Union Confederation endorsed a boycott of the hotel.

"We thank the many people and organizations from Hawaii and around the world who came forward to support this struggle," said ILWU International Vice President Wesley Furtado in a statement.