Workers at four landmark Waikiki hotels walked off the job on Monday, less than a month after they voted to authorize a strike.

The strike involves 2,700 workers at the Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Waikiki and Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki, as well as the Sheraton Maui, Unite Here Local 5 said in a statement announcing the strike.

The union’s contract with the hotels’ owner, Kyo-Ya Hotels & Resorts, expired in June, and the two sides have been negotiating a new one.

On Strike Sheraton Waikiki supporters wait to enter cross walk area on Lewers Street.
Workers are striking at the Sheraton Waikiki and several other hotels. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In a statement, Kyo-Ya said it respected the right of its workers to strike and that it had adjusted staffing and services at the hotels to deal with the strike.

Campaigning under the slogan “One Job Should Be Enough,” Local 5 has been stressing that hotel workers don’t make enough to afford to live in Hawaii.

Although a union housekeeper now earns $22.14 an hour and gets health care coverage for the worker and the worker’s family, union officials say that’s not enough for a place like Oahu where the median price of a single-family home is more than $800,000.

In what seemed a major, early concession to help deal with the high living costs, the union announced over the summer that management had agreed to contribute to a fund to help workers pay for housing.

But the details of that agreement were scant, and in announcing the strike, the union cited a failure to agree on issues like worker safety, job security and compensation.

The hotels all operate under management contracts with the hospitality giant Marriott International, which significantly expanded its presence in Waikiki when it acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts for $13.6 billion in 2016 to become the world’s largest hospitality company. Marriott has more than a million rooms operated under dozens of brands including Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton and Le Meridien.

Spared from the work stoppage is the Waikiki Marriott, which is not owned by Kyo-Ya. Honolulu and Maui Marriott workers are joining a nationwide strike totaling eight cities with 7,700 Marriott hotel workers from 23 hotels. Strikes began last week in BostonSan Francisco, San JoseOaklandSan Diego, and Detroit.

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