ILWU deflects blame for failure to renew certification

The already tumultuous relationship between the owners of Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki (HI) and ILWU Local 142, the union that is trying to achieve a first contract for workers at the property, completely broke down yesterday.

Yesterday, in the wake of rumblings that the union and community supporters were planning to launch a consumer boycott of the property today, owner HTH Corp. announced that it will challenge the union's right to organize at the property.

Tensions have continued to mount since HTH Corp. resumed management of the property on Saturday with about 45 less union workers in the ranks. PBH Management, an affiliate of Outrigger Enterprises Group, had formerly managed the property.

The boycott, threatened for months, stems in part from HTH Corp.'s decision to reduce the workforce at the Pacific Beach Hotel during the property's latest management transition. The union has accused HTH Corp. of firing the most active ILWU Local 142 supporters in an attempt to weaken workers' efforts to obtain a fair labor contract.

However, HTH Corp. has taken the position that the union's National Labor Relations Board certification has expired and has declined ILWU Local 142's most recent request to meet, said Robert Minicola, regional vice president of HTH.

"We have a good faith doubt that the ILWU represents the majority of workers at the Pacific Beach Hotel," Minicola said. "I informed (the union president) that the threats to our employees, our owners and the boycotting of our business have caused us not to recognize the union."

Workers at the Pacific Beach Hotel say that they have struggled to get union representation since 2002 but were impeded by by interference from HTH Corp.

"It's a blatant illegality on their part to not recognize the union," said Guy Fujimura, secretary/treasurer of the ILWU Local 142. "Clearly we will take legal action."

Both parties have filed numerous charges against each other with the National Labor Relations Board.


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