Hawaiʻi Hotel Workers Held Statewide Event: Spread Aloha, Not COVID
With the recent surge in tourists to Hawaiʻi, hundreds of UNITE HERE Local 5 members waved signs and passed out out informational leaflets on O’ahu, Maui and Kaua’i to urge visitors and the public to “Spread Aloha, not COVID.”
The hotel workers reminded the public it is still necessary follow safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Now that tourism is starting to return to its pre-pandemic numbers, we have to be more aware about the spread of COVID and to follow safety guidelines like wearing mask and social-distancing,” said Joy Mellegrito, a housekeeper from the Kahala. “The State just reopened the Phase 1c category, allowing hospitality workers to get the vaccine. Many of us are still waiting. So we call on our visitors and the public to be mindful that we are still at risk.”
UNITE HERE Local 5 is also urging the hotels to cooperate with the State’s vaccination process. The Union has reached out to management, calling on them to grant paid time off to workers for their vaccination appointments.
Aina Iglesias, a front desk worker at DoubleTree Alana by Hilton, said: “We want to get the earliest available slot to get the vaccine, but at the same time, we don’t have full control of scheduling at work. We ask our management to work with us so we can get the vaccine. Hotel workers should not worry about getting disciplined and losing wages to get the vaccine against this pandemic, especially if we are on the frontlines dealing with travelers.”
Once UNITE HERE Local 5 learned that all hospitality workers will be included in Phase 1c of COVID-19 vaccinations, the Union quickly submitted the contact information they have on file for Local 5 hospitality members to the State Department of Health. The Union confirmed the state has begun to reach out to these members to book vaccination appointments.