On Monday January 25, 2021, the Hawaii Legislature introduced worker recall legislation. If passed, it would require hotel employers and others to hire back the workers they laid off before looking outside for new workers.
Over 670,000 workers nationwide were furloughed or laid off last year because of the closures and cutbacks caused by the pandemic; especially in the travel industry. In the months ahead, we all hope for a recovery that benefits the entire community. As business comes back, workers should be able to come back too.
The legislation was introduced as Bill HB 642 in the state House of Representatives and Bill SB588 in the state Senate. You can read them here – HB 642 and SB 588 and track their progress here – HB 642 and SB 588.
We need your help to get this passed! Use our email form below to email Representatives Linda Ichiyama and Richard Onishi and Senators Glenn Wakai and Brian Taniguchi to support HB 642 / SB 588 to help workers get back to work and schedule these bills for a hearing and pass them out.
If passed, the bills will:
- Give our kupuna who’ve dedicated decades to their lives to their companies the respect and loyalty they deserve. Without this legislation, companies can hire new and younger employees that they can pay less, leaving long-time, loyal employees out in the cold.
- Not cost employers or the state anything. We recognize that tourism may be slow to come back, and employers may not be able to staff full operations right away. This bill would not require them to bring back more people than they need for their operations at any given time: it would only require that as they do bring workers back little by little, they give priority to the people whose efforts have made those businesses successful.
- Bring economic recovery for everyone, not just corporations. The entire community has made sacrifices that allow tourism to grow in hopes that the growth would benefit everyone. In 2019, Hawaii had over ten million visitors, a record number. This comes at a cost for residents. A routine survey of Hawaii residents found that in 2020, 74% agreed that tourism results in a higher cost of living; 82% agreed that it increases traffic problems, and 67% agreed that their island is run for tourists at the expense of local people. Giving workers – who are local residents – recall rights through this bill would help make sure that the hospitality industry doesn’t take advantage of this unprecedented crisis to leave its workers behind when it starts moving forward again.