Local 5 says labor probe complete
By Susan Hooper
Advertiser Staff Writer
The head of Local 5 of the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Union said yesterday he had been told by the union's international headquarters that the U.S. Department of Labor would not continue its investigation into last July's contested union elections or bring charges.
"We're happy about this, because now we can proceed with our contract negotiations without any distractions," said Eric Gill, Local 5 financial secretary-treasurer. The union recently began contract talks with several Waikiki hotels.
A spokeswoman for the federal Department of Labor in San Francisco, which is conducting the investigation, said yesterday "the case is not officially closed."
Deanne Amaden said the department considers a case closed when it issues a statement of reason to the person who filed the complaint. She could not estimate when that might happen.
The complainants in this case include Tony Rutledge, who ran the union for 14 years as financial secretary-treasurer and lost the July 9 election to Gill by 21 of 5,300 local union votes.
Rutledge also had lost by a slim margin in a March 2000 election mandated after federal authorities ruled that his name had been wrongly left off the ballot in a previous election.
Last July, Rutledge and two other losing candidates asked the international to toss out the 2001 election results and hold a new vote, contending the election was premature, unfair and improperly supervised.
International union officials have never commented publicly on their review of the election. The complaint was turned over to the Labor Department, which has been investigating.
Rutledge could not be reached yesterday.
Reach Susan Hooper at 525-8064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.