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Hawaii hotel, owned by Las Vegas company, will lay off 78 in closure

HONOLULU — The closure of a Hawaii hotel is expected to result in up to 78 employee layoffs.

Diamond Resorts has notified 78 workers at The Modern Honolulu that their positions are to be eliminated in the next 30 days, news outlets reported Friday.

Unite Here Local 5 labor union represents the workers and posted information on its website Thursday about the anticipated job losses on the Big Island.

The layoffs will affect about 30% of the hotel’s staff across multiple departments including housekeeping, banquets, pool, in-room dining, reservations, and food and beverage.

Las Vegas-based Diamond Resorts purchased The Modern in April 2018 for a reported $225 million. The company plans to convert the hotel into timeshare apartments.

Local 5 said it has filed federal complaints about unfair labor practices.

“When tourism is our No. 1 industry, we need to ask ourselves: Which companies are benefiting Hawaii’s people and which ones are hurting us?” said Gemma Weinstein, Local 5 president. “Timeshares have shown over and over again that they hurt Hawaii more than they help.”

The company did not take the decision lightly and terminated employees have been offered severance packages, a Diamond Resorts representative said.

“We want to make sure they have support as they transition to new careers and we will be here for them through that process as we convert the property into a vacation ownership resort,” the spokesperson said.

Jack Krause, a bar attendant who was among those laid off, said he and his girlfriend will face financial hardships as a result.

“Severance isn’t a job,” he said. “I just want to work.”

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