Hotel Workers to Protest in Vancouver & Toronto for Respect at Larco Hospitality

WHEN:  Wednesday, October 19

WHERE:  Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, 7551 Westminster Hwy, Richmond

TIME:  5PM

Vancouver, BC — Hotel workers will hold demonstrations today in Vancouver and Toronto at several Larco-owned and operated hotels to protest the company’s treatment of workers, the majority of whom are immigrants.  The workers, represented UNITE HERE, are calling on Larco Hospitality to end years of disrespect and to raise standards at their hotels.

Larco workers in Vancouver, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, will demonstrate at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel where they earn, on average, $8,000 a year less than workers at comparable hotels.  The rally is the latest in a series of protests held by workers to protest heavy workloads and lower wage and benefit standards at the Sheraton compared to other high-end hotels.  Workers are seeking to bargain independently with the Sheraton, which is currently bargaining alongside more than 40 hotel and motel employers through a master contract agreement represented by Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR).  Unlike the Sheraton, most of the properties represented in the master agreement are lower-end hotels and motels.

“We provide top service to our customers at the Sheraton, but our hard work is not recognized by Larco. Since the hotel became a Sheraton, our workloads have gotten heavier, but we earn less than room attendants at similar hotels.  We rush to finish more work in less time, and the work is causing us pain. Some of us take pain killers just to get through the day.  We tell the company we deserve better treatment, but they don’t listen to us,” said Jean Harvey, a room attendant at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel.

Today in Toronto, hotel workers will also protest at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel (Skydome), to be joined by workers holding simultaneous actions at other Larco-owned hotels, the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville and the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel.  In July, workers at the Renaissance voted to join UNITE HERE Local 75.  Local 75 has filed charges with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against Larco Hospitality for repeatedly breaking provincial labour law in an attempt to interfere with workers’ right to organize.  A labour board mediation will be held at the end of November followed by hearings, if necessary.

Luz Flores, a room attendant at the Renaissance said: “When Larco management found out that we were organizing, all of us room attendants were told that, if the union came in, the company would start writing us up if they found anything wrong with the rooms that we clean each day and that after three mistakes, we could be terminated. Many of us have worked here for more than a decade and we need these jobs to support our families. It wasn’t right to threaten us that way. Even though most of us are immigrant workers, we still have rights and Larco needs to respect those.”

Larco Hospitality is part of the Larco Group of Companies and is owned by the prominent Lalji family.  The parent company is a major real estate owner and developer with significant hotel holdings in Canada.  Last year, the owners of Larco were ranked #28 on Canadian Business’ annual ranking of Richest 100 Canadians.

UNITE HERE Local 40 and UNITE HERE Local 75 represent thousands of hospitality workers throughout British Columbia and in the Greater Toronto Area, respectively.

For more information about today’s demonstrations, please contact Michelle Travis at [email protected]