Three Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa employees were “trespassed” and banned from hotel property for a year, after being stopped by security while distributing leaflets to guests on Oct. 12. The workers are among the 325 Sheraton Maui employees on strike and represented by the union UNITE HERE Local 5. One employee, Bernie Sanchez, was handcuffed by a Maui Police Department officer when she tried to leave the hotel grounds, the union said.
“Guests have been very understanding of our message that one job should be enough to live in Hawai‘i,” Sanchez, a server at the Sheraton, said in a statement. “I am very disappointed that Kyo-ya banned us when they claim to be so welcoming to workers.”
Cade Watanabe, an organizer at UNITE HERE Local 5, said the union has trained employees to understand and exercise their rights.
“They were told, when they appeared on property, by security to leave. As we’ve trained them, they asserted their free speech rights but also their rights under the federal labor law to remain on property and to continue to pass out leaflets,” Watanabe told me. “The workers are obviously employees of the hotel and because of that have a right to to access property. At the same time, the ability of being able to communicate with guests and members of the public is something that is protected not just by our basic free speech rights but also by federal labor laws.”
On Oct. 16, UNITE HERE filed an unfair labor practice charge with the US National Labor Relations Board against Sheraton Maui regarding the incident, claiming that the resort “interfered with, restrained and coerced employees.”
Sheraton Maui workers have been on strike since Monday, Oct. 8 after a summer of unsuccessful negotiations with Kyo-ya, which owns the hotel, and Marriott, which manages it. Under the rallying call “One Job Should Be Enough,” workers are demanding better compensation and work conditions, job security guarantees around automation, and greater workplace safety.
2,700 Marriott hotel workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 5 are on strike in Hawai‘i, part of a larger wave of UNITE HERE action which includes nearly 8,000 Marriott employees nationwide who have taken to picket lines from San Francisco to Boston.
Despite a statement from Kyo-ya stating that they are committed to “good faith bargaining” and welcome employees back, as of Oct. 16 no negotiations have been scheduled, Watanabe said.
Photo courtesy Facebook/Unite Here Local 5
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Coconut Poll 10/18/2018: Do you think Sheraton Maui was right to “trespass” three of their striking workers?
This week we talked about three Sheraton workers who were banned from the hotel property for a year after security stopped them for handing out leaflets to hotel guests regarding the ongoing strike.
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