Union Negotiator Storms Out of Meeting
HONOLULU (AP) _ A union negotiator stormed out of a meeting Monday after 18 hours of talks aimed at averting a strike by about 8,000 employees of 13 major Hawaii hotels during the state’s busy tourist season.
″We’re finished bargaining,″ Tony Rutledge said as he left the conference room. He said the union had put its final offer on the table.
Later, Rutledge and his lawyer met with Gov. John Waihee and federal mediator Frank Schoeppel.
Rutledge told reporters after that session that there would be either an impasse or a settlement the next time the sides meet, but did not say when the next meeting would occur.
Talks between negotiators for the hotels and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 5 had resumed Sunday night and continued into mid-day Monday.
Schoeppel had imposed a news blackout on the latest round of talks. But before Rutledge left the meeting, Waihee had told reporters that progress was being made.
Each of the hotels has a contingency plan to remain open in the event of a strike, said William Crawford, spokesman for the Council of Hawaii Hotels.
The previous contract expired at midnight Saturday after the union turned down Waihee’s request for a five-day extension of the strike deadline, and former Gov. George Ariyoshi’s request for a one-day extension.
″Extension would just give the employers more time to delay dealing with the main issues,″ Rutledge had said. ″Currently we are extending for only an hour at a time.″
The union no longer was insisting on a contract that would provide parity with San Francisco hotel workers within three years, Rutledge said, but there was no word on details of the union’s latest demand.
Management’s last known offer was a 10-cent-per-hour increase for employes who get tips, and a 3 percent raise for employes who don’t receive tips.
Under the old contract, employes were paid an average of $6.43 per hour, according to the union.
A walkout would affect one-third of the hotel rooms in Waikiki and at least one big hotel on each of the major Neighbor Islands.
Hotels involved in the negotiations are the Royal Hawaiian, Moana- Surfrider, Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaiian Regent, Hyatt Regency, Westin Ilikai, and Hilton Hawaiian Village, all in Waikiki; the nearby Kahala Hilton; and the Kona Hilton, Sheraton Maui, Sheraton Kauai and Sheraton Molokai.