News Release

Waikiki Hotel Employees Hit Union Officials with Federal Charges for Illegally Seizing Dues

UNITE HERE Local 5 union officials have an ugly history of violating the rights of the workers they claim to represent

Honolulu, HI (April 30, 2014) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a group of Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa employees have filed federal unfair labor practice charges against the UNITE HERE Local 5 union.

Honolulu Hyatt employees Mark Tamosiunas, Wayne Young, Steven Taono, and Agnes Demarke filed the charges late last week with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Starting around June 30, 2010, the monopoly bargaining agreement between UNITE HERE Local 5 union officials and Hyatt management expired. While the contract was no longer in effect, the workers resigned their union membership and exercised their right to refrain from union dues payments.

However, UNITE HERE Local 5 union officials are now charging the workers for union dues and fees from June 2012 to August 2013, even though no union monopoly bargaining agreement requiring workers to pay union dues or fees was in effect.

Further, the workers never received a copy of the new union monopoly bargaining agreement, a notice of their rights to refrain from union membership and full dues payments, or a breakdown of union financial expenditures from Local 5.

The charges will now be investigated by the NLRB, a federal agency charged with administering private-sector labor law.

Foundation staff attorneys have assisted other workers in defending their rights against the scofflaw union. In 2008, Turtle Bay Resort employee Brenda Lee Orr and Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort and Spa employee Grant Suzuki won a federal settlement that forced UNITE HERE Local 5 to refund union dues and fees illegally used for union politics. In 2012, Suzuki and another hotel employee, Daryl Sakugawa, filed charges after both were forced to contribute to a variety of activities outside the scope of workplace negotiations, including UNITE HERE political lobbying and a union strike fund.

"Once again, UNITE HERE bosses have demonstrated how little regard they have for workers' rights," said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. "The only permanent solution to chronic union law-breaking is an Hawaii Right to Work law, which would ensure that no employee can be forced to join or pay dues to a union."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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