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Hotel Union, H.E.R.E., Urges Boycott of Turtle Bay Resort

Hotel Union, H.E.R.E., Urges Boycott of Turtle Bay Resort

Business Editors

HONOLULU–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 24, 2004

Workers at the Turtle Bay Resort, on Oahu’s North Shore, are mobilizing community support and notifying potential guests about the continuing disruptions at the otherwise peaceful resort. The 250 workers, represented by Local 5 of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees (H.E.R.E.) International Union, launched a consumer boycott of their hotel late last year after negotiations failed to produce an acceptable contract.

“The situation is definitely escalating,” said Claire Shimabukuro, Local 5’s community organizer. “The hotel has tried to trespass union representatives and picketing and chanting workers are a regular feature. Some groups have cancelled their plans to come to Turtle Bay and guests, who were made aware of the situation, have even joined our picket line.”

Local 5’s message, “Stay Away from Turtle Bay,” will be appearing on yard signs and bumper stickers throughout the North Shore. To ensure that potential guests are aware of the current situation before they arrive, Local 5 has created a website (www.TurtleBayBoycott.info) and is directly contacting travel agents and meeting planners.

Turtle Bay workers refuse to accept a contract that does not protect their jobs from being transformed into low wage, no benefit positions. “What is the point of maintaining benefits and wages when the hotel can subcontract our jobs at any time?” said Stephen Dela Cruz, a 27-year maintenance worker. “The hotel promotes itself as ‘true Hawai’i’, but their lack of aloha for employees is about as far from ‘true Hawai’i’ as you can get.”

Turtle Bay workers, with only one wage increase — 20 cents — over the last decade, are more than $3/hr behind their Waikiki counterparts. “Not getting the wages we deserve is bad enough, but for management to spend over $60 million on fixing the hotel and millions more on advertising, but refuse to give us basic job security — which costs them nothing — makes us feel that they don’t care about us or our community at all,” said Larry Arb, a supply clerk and a Turtle Bay employee for 30 years.

Local 5 represents 11,000 workers in Hawaii and has recently settled contracts with major hotels covering almost 7,000 workers.

Turtle Bay Resort is owned by Oaktree Capital Management, LLC and is managed by Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality.

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