Sept. 28--Employees at The Modern Honolulu, which has seen two management changes in the two years it has been open, have approved their first union contract.
The five-year deal, which goes into effect Tuesday, provides hourly wage increases, two added holidays, improved workload for housekeepers and increased porterage for bell and valet staff. It also includes a successorship provision that secures workers' jobs if The Modern Honolulu is sold to another company or changes ownership or management.
The contract between the Waikiki hotel and Unite Here Local 5 follows more than two years of negotiations and covers more than 250 Modern Honolulu workers. It was approved Thursday night by the union employees in a 101-12 vote.
"As someone who has worked in the industry for most of my adult life, I can tell you how important it is to have job security and guaranteed benefits," said David Yamamoto, a bartender at The Modern Honolulu who has worked at the hotel since 2010, in a statement.
The Modern Honolulu was known as the Yacht Harbor Tower of the Ilikai Hotel from 1964 to 2006 until developer Brian Anderson bought the Ilikai and sold the Yacht Harbor Tower to eRealty. Yacht Harbor Tower then closed for renovations, putting hundreds of workers out of work, until 2010 when it reopened as the Waikiki Edition. In 2011 its owner M Waikiki LLC -- a subsidiary of eRealty -- ousted Marriott International Inc. as the hotel's management company, hired Modern Management Services LLC, an affiliate of Aqua Hotels & Resorts, to manage the property and renamed the hotel The Modern Honolulu.
"While this is a great victory for us, the fight isn't over," Audrey Jordan-Gecain, a Modern Honolulu housekeeper, said in the statement. "Many hotel owners are converting hotel rooms into luxury condos and timeshares. This happened at the Ilikai next door. If this happens at the Modern, our contract won't protect us."
Modern Honolulu General Manager Gerald Glennon could not be reached for comment.