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Diamond Resorts’ decision to lay off 78 workers at The Modern Honolulu hotel condemned by union

UNITE HERE Local 5 condemns Diamond Resorts, a timeshare company headquartered in Las Vegas, after its decision to lay off 78 workers at The Modern Honolulu — nearly 30% of the workers. The layoff impacts multiple departments like housekeeping, banquets, pool, in-room dining, reservations, and food & beverage. The 78 workers received a letter from the company that their positions will be eliminated within the next 30 days.

The decision comes soon after Diamond Resorts CEO Mike Flaskey told Fox News that his company is benefiting from the Trump administration’s tax cuts and deregulation. In March, Diamond Resorts failed to issue paychecks to workers on time, resulting in workers incurring fees and penalties.

Local 5 represents over 270 workers at The Modern Honolulu, one of 21 hotels and timeshares within Diamond Resorts’ international network of managed or affiliated properties. Diamond Resorts purchased The Modern in April 2018.

The Modern is a full-service hotel, but Diamond Resorts has expressed interest in partially or fully converting the property into a timeshare. They also plan on cutting guest services like daily room service, banquets, meetings, and catering. However, they have not received timeshare registration approval from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs or the permits needed to build or renovate hotel rooms into timeshares, so it is unclear why this layoff is necessary at this point.

“When tourism is our #1 industry, we need to ask ourselves: which companies are benefiting Hawaii’s people and which ones are hurting us? Timeshares have shown over and over again that they hurt Hawaii more than they help. They pay less than hotels, the work is harder, and they provide less jobs. They negatively affect the guests’ experience in Hawaii by charging exorbitant maintenance fees while cutting guest services. Companies like Diamond Resorts are bad for Hawaii. They’re going to destroy the lives of 78 local families,” says Gemma Weinstein, President of UNITE HERE Local 5.

“I have three children and work three jobs to support them. This is my only job that provides family medical coverage. Being laid off so suddenly is going to hurt my family,” says Mary Glen Fuerte, a housekeeper at The Modern Honolulu.

Diamond Resorts has been accused of unethical high-pressure sales tactics, including preying on the elderly. In 2016, the State of Arizona investigated Diamond Resorts for violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act after receiving hundreds of consumer complaints against Diamond Resorts.

Local 5 is looking into its legal options. Workers at The Modern are ready to take action and will be calling on the community to support their campaign to protect good jobs and make one job enough to live in Hawaii.

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