Letter for Thursday, October 11, 2018

One job should be enough

As almost everyone knows, Hawaii’s tourist industry has been raking in huge profits. Since the beginning of this year, the Marriott hotel system has generated more than $671 million in profits of which $41 million came in because of President Trump’s generous corporate tax breaks. In the meantime, Marriott hotel workers, like many others, are forced to work multiple jobs to support their families.

On Monday, Oct. 8, 2,700 Hawaii Marriott workers, led by their union Unite Here Local 5, who work at five of Hawaii’s most prominent hotels in Waikiki and Maui, decided to go on strike. More than 95 percent of union membership authorized this strike. The workers have been trying to negotiate in good faith for months, but Marriott has refused to consider their common-sense demands on the issues of job security around technology and automation and workplace safety.

They join other United Here affiliates in eight cities at 23 hotels nationwide. Their major but actually modest demand is that they should be justly compensated because one job should be enough! This most reasonable demand resonates with many of us here in Hawaii, who fear our bodies and minds will be broken before we reach retirement age. The ridiculous solution by Marriott bosses is for workers to get another job.

These hotels run by Marriott and owned by Kyo-ya are the Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Westin Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and Sheraton Maui. Marriott-operated hotel properties on Kauai are not involved. The union is urging Hawaii residents, tourists, elected officials and political candidates not to patronize these hotels and to support the workers by not crossing their picket lines.

Marriott is the biggest and richest hotel company in the world, but they are refusing to share the wealth that their workers have created. Many of us work two or more jobs not because we’re greedy, but we won’t be able to pay our rent or mortgages. Our middle class families are being crushed. As recently reported by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the median-priced, single-family dwelling now stands at $812,500. The courageous stance taken by Local 5 should be supported by all working people.

Raymond Catania, Puhi

  1. John Zwiebel October 11, 2018 3:45 am Reply

    You go Ray! Great letter.

  2. gordon oswald October 11, 2018 5:33 am Reply

    Hotels, and other businesses, will pay more wages when there are fewer people who desire to fill those positions. In the meantime, wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone worked harder on their education, focused on obtaining new and more valuable skills, and, instead of demanding money the free market doesn’t recognize, worked their way up to more income in their quest for the American dream. Our “professional” minimum wage workers are hard working and many are wonderful people who deserve to be educated to their goals, not subsidized to never achieve them. Minimum wage jobs have historically not been full family supporting jobs! They are simply for those who want extra income like students, retirees, or those who just want to add some money to augment their chosen profession and existing income. When uneducated immigrants flood our neighborhoods with their average 5 children, the entire free market system is altered at the negative expense of our existing society. I have never seen anyone fleeing from a free market capitalist system to a Socialist Country! Raising the minimum wage is a foolish solution without solving the real problem while pushing the American dream further away from the very people who should be striving to achieve it! I have never seen citizens of a thriving free market capitalist country fleeing for refuge to a Socialist or Communist Country. Government mandating wages over businesses is a Socialist hook that turns into the nightmare from which everyone is fleeing!

    1. Pete Antonson October 11, 2018 1:42 pm Reply

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Oswald stopped imagining immigrants as being uneducated, having 5 kids, and flooding his neighborhood? It might turn him back into being a human being!

  3. PauloT October 11, 2018 9:33 am Reply

    We absolutely should support the Hotel workers. One job should be enough.

  4. Craig Millett October 12, 2018 7:37 am Reply

    Once again good old Gordo Oswald chimes in from lala land. There is no “free” in your “free market system”. No human is “worth a billion dollars”. However a few possess that much money to the detriment of the rest of humanity. Climb down from your pie in the sky world.

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