WAIKIKI, Hawaii – Hundreds of organizations from businesses to services in Hawaii marched down Kalakaua Avenue to show their support for gay, lesbian and transgender people of Hawaii.
“It’s all about visibility, so we can celebrate who we are and we’re very very diverse. We have LGBT, lots of allies. We have great support from organizations and companies throughout the state,” Joe Bock, vice chair, Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation, said.
One group of parade marchers has a different focus.
“This fight, is not only for the hotel workers, it’s for the community of Hawaii and for the next generation,” Gemma Weinstein, UNITEHERE Local 5 president, said. ?
While Local 5 has supported Hawaii’s LGBT community and marched in past parades. They have been on strike since October 8 for better salary wages and job security. It has striking members at five Marriott hotels in Hawaii. On Saturday, it merged its causes.
“The strike is for everybody, doesn’t matter what color you are, what gender you are. This is for everybody. What we’re fighting here is for the people of Hawaii. We have members that’s also in pride and we’re proud of them,” Weinstein said.
Parade watchers empathize.
“They’re doing what they’re doing and the parade is going at the same time. Hopefully like I said, management will give them what they would like,” Joseph Palau, Waikiki resident, said.
Parade organizers welcome the union marchers in this event that’s all about inclusiveness.
“They are probably one of a hundred groups marching so we welcome them, we welcome anybody to join us,” Bock said.
The union promises its members will keep pounding the pavement long after this parade ends, until they get what they want.
“As long as we takes, we get a good contract then our workers are gonna go back there,” Weinstein said.
This strike is in its 13th day. It’s not the first nor the longest, yet. The longest strike for Local5 lasted 22 days back in 1990 and involved 7,500 strikers.