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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Hyatt Regency, union reach deal

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, Hawai'i's fourth-largest hotel, has tentatively agreed to a new four-year contract with Local 5 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union.

The deal, if approved by workers, would mean pay raises, increased benefits and better job security for 560 unionized hotel workers at the Hyatt.

"I think it is a very fair and reasonable agreement," said Frank Lavey, Hyatt's general manager.

"I am happy that it was settled very amicably."

Yesterday's agreement between the union and the 1,200-room Hyatt is basically the same as one that was ratified by workers at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort & Spa and four Sheraton hotels in Waikiki — with some "minor" language changes, hotel and union officials said yesterday.

In addition to enhanced job security for workers if the hotel is sold, the new contract also provides for increased wages, employer contributions to health and pension plans, and a limit to employee workloads.

The union's negotiating committee must still approve the agreement, and workers need to ratify the contract before it can take effect. Union officials said a ratification vote has not been scheduled, but expect to set a date for a vote in the next two weeks.

"We are very pleased with the Hyatt's willingness to amicably settle a contract and maintain a citywide standard for hotel workers," said Eric Gill, financial secretary-treasurer for Local 5. "We hope that other hotels will follow Hyatt's lead and we look forward to working with the Hyatt to create a brighter future for the hotel and its employees."

The union is still working on securing a labor agreement for 300 workers at the Renaissance Ilikai and 450 workers at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Unionized employees at the Ilikai have been working under a contract extension for several months while employees at Ala Moana Hotel have been working without a contract extension after the hotel decided not to extend their contract.

Jason Ward, a spokesman for Local 5, said the union has given the Ilikai a contract proposal but negotiations are not scheduled yet.

Ward said the union hopes to settle with the Ilikai first before it begins negotiations with the Ala Moana hotel for a new labor agreement.

Reach Frank Cho at 525-8088, or at fcho@honoluluadvertiser.com.