YVR: First Class Airport, Second Class Jobs

Workers behind the concession counters at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) help make this North America’s #1 airport.  Workers take pride in welcoming the world to Vancouver while serving travelers a cup of coffee or a warm meal on the way to their destination.

While workers love working at YVR, too many of them are earning at, or slightly above, minimum wage, with few benefits.  The work is precarious.  Turnover is high and staffing is a challenge.  Many workers at YVR work two, sometimes three, jobs to make ends meet.  Worse, years of contract flipping has created a low-road for airport concession workers.  When concession leases expire, workers stand to lose higher wages and benefits they earned during their years of service. Workers are told to reapply for work and to start over at minimum wage.

We believe YVR could become a truly sustainable community partner by adopting policies that have a positive impact on its contracted workforce.  Major competing airports across the western seaboard, like SEA-TAC, SFO, LAX among others, are paying living wages to airport concession workers and have worker retention and labour peace policies that ensure a smooth transition when operators change.

We want YVR to adopt responsible contracting policies and become #1 when it comes to ensuring airport concession workers have sustainable, decent jobs. 

If you agree, visit us on Facebook and “Like” our page!   Or, if you are on Twitter, tweet a message to YVR:  “Concession workers @yvrairport need first class jobs!”

UNITE HERE Local 40 Job Posting: Communications Specialist/Digital Campaigner (PT/FT)

Summary:

UNITE HERE is a progressive labour union, dedicated to creating greater equality and opportunity for workers in the hospitality industry. Communications Specialists are embedded in local worker campaigns and play a crucial role in designing comprehensive communications strategies using digital platforms, earned media and multi-media tools to raise the visibility of worker struggles. As a Communications Specialist/Digital Campaigner with UNITE HERE, you will be part of a team that empowers people in low-wage service sector jobs to achieve better wages and benefits, dignity and basic rights at work.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing, in collaboration with union leadership and members, messaging and materials for effective communication with news media, the general public, union members and allies;
  • Designing leaflets, newsletters, website- and e-advocacy content, social media posts and other content;
  • Maintaining and updating content to Local 40 websites and social media platforms;
  • Helping execute the Local’s social media strategy and expand the union’s strategic use of digital communications;
  • Ensuring that all communication is consistent and reflects the union’s strategic vision;
  • Editing and revising all communications content as necessary;
  • Documenting events and actions, including taking photos and video, and posting real-time content to social media platforms;
  • Producing multi-media content for communications, such as short videos, is a plus.

Job Requirements/Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and the fight for workers’ rights;
  • Relevant experience in graphic design, campaign communications or media relations;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to meaningfully engage with and frame issues for people of diverse backgrounds and life experiences;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite. Experience with Canva is a plus;
  • Experience with web development, photography and/or video production desirable;
  • Ability to work independently and manage a workload with competing priorities and deadlines;
  • Ability and willingness to work occasional long or irregular hours during times of critical campaign need.

To apply for this position: please email your resume, cover letter and a sample of your work (or a link to a website portfolio of your work) to [email protected]

Prince George Workers Hold Demonstration at Ramada

(Prince George, BC) On Thursday, April 19, hotel and food service workers from across the city converged outside the Ramada Prince George Hotel for a demonstration organized by members of UNITE HERE! Local 40. The workers were joined by several Prince George unions, campus groups, and community allies.

Ramada workers, who have been in bargaining for almost a year, protested working conditions at the hotel.  They currently earn less than other unionized hotel workers in Prince George. Workers want management to address serious contract violations, a lack of adequate staffing and supplies during busy periods at the hotel, and to resolve basic issues that staff bring forward.

Unite Here Local 40 represents hundreds of workers across Prince George. In addition to the Ramada, Local 40 members are fighting for better working conditions at UNBC and Travelodge and will soon begin bargaining at Coast Inn of the North.  As the cost of living continues to increase, hotel and food service workers across Prince George are joining together to build a higher standard of living in their city, one workplace at a time.

“We all face a lot of the same problems where we work, regardless of that being UNBC or the Ramada. All of us need wages that we can live on, respect in the workplace, adequate staffing levels and safe working conditions. This is why we are working together to build a movement of workers standing up for one another. This action is only the beginning of that,” said Stacey Moen, a cook at the Ramada.

Members of several area Prince George unions and local community groups joined today’s demonstration.

“Hotel and hospitality workers add real economic value to our community by providing vital services. They deserve our full support in their struggle for decent wages and benefits, and better working conditions,” said Paul Ewert from Stand Up for the North Committee.

For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]

Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Workers Vote Yes to Unionize

Vancouver, BC – Workers at the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel voted resoundingly to join BC’s hospitality union, UNITE HERE Local 40.   In a vote count conducted by the Labour Relations Board this morning, workers from the hotel’s housekeeping, front desk, kitchen, banquet, restaurant and maintenance departments, voted heavily in favour of joining Local 40.

“This is an important victory for Four Points workers who want to have a voice on the job and to be treated with respect and dignity in their workplace,” said Zailda Chan, the newly elected president of Local 40.

Workers filed for an election in January after a new owner acquired the hotel and changed labour practices.  Management cut back hours for senior workers and contracted out banquet and catering staff, whose pay then dropped to minimum wage.  Four Points workers voted to join thousands of other Local 40 hospitality members who have won better conditions at work and a better future for themselves and their families.

“Four Points workers, most of whom are part of Richmond’s Chinese and other immigrant communities, have taken the first step toward making a difference in their hotel. With the support of our union, they will now turn their attention to winning a good contract with fair wages and working conditions like other Local 40 members in British Columbia have won,” said Chan.

This vote is the first to be announced for Unite Here Local 40 under the new presidency of Zailda Chan, BC’s first Chinese-Canadian union president.

 

For more information, contact [email protected]

Press Release: Hotel and airport workers elect BC’s first Chinese-Canadian union president

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 21, 2018

Vancouver, BC:  At 2pm today, Zailda Chan will be sworn in as President of UNITE HERE Local 40. Surrounded by the workers she represents at the Hyatt Hotel, Zailda Chan will celebrate alongside other newly-elected officers, Christina Bencze (Finance Secretary-Treasurer) and Nomelita (Noy) Paguio (Vice-President), all women.

“Our new executive includes workers from all over the province – from Victoria to Prince George. We are a force to be reckoned with,” said Zailda Chan.

UNITE HERE Local 40’s leadership is its most diverse ever, more closely reflecting the make-up of its 6,500 members, most of whom work in hotels and airports across BC. Members work in food service – college cafeterias, country club dining rooms and airport terminals – and as hotel employees, the majority of whom are housekeepers.

“One of my proudest moments over the last decade as a union organizer was fighting to ensure that cafeteria workers at Simon Fraser University kept their contract, jobs, wages, benefits, years of service and, most importantly, their dignity, when their employer put their contract out to a new bidder,” said Zailda Chan. “Too often in BC, employers don’t take their obligations to workers seriously enough. A contract is a contract. At Local 40, our members’ rights come first. It’s about respect.”

Outgoing President Robert Demand notes: “Zailda Chan will be a great President for our union. She’s a fighter. She has a proven record of service to members and standing up for fairness and the power of working together for workers’ rights. I look forward to serving alongside Zailda Chan at the bargaining table.”

Nearly a third of UNITE HERE Local 40’s membership holds contracts that come up for renewal this year. “I want hotel workers to know – like at the Hyatt where we are holding our swearing-in celebration – that Local 40 will bring new energy and our on-going commitment to getting fair wages and benefits for all our members and for workers who want to join our union,” adds Zailda Chan.

“Travelers going through Vancouver Airport, pick up a sandwich or water but don’t realize that the people making those sandwiches and serving them are our members. Most of them make only $13 an hour. Minimum wage increases are essential if those workers’ families are to make ends meet. Together with the BC Federation of Labour, Local 40 is committed to supporting legislated increases to the minimum wage and employer wage concessions. Now is the time. This is the year.”

The great-great-granddaughter and grandniece of Vancouver railway workers from China – most of whom paid the “head tax” a century ago – Zailda Chan’s journey to the top of UNITE HERE Local 40 began at home.

Zailda Chan moved to Canada with her parents and siblings at 13 years old. Emigrating from Venezuela – having left earlier from one of the poorest regions in Guang Dong province of China – Zailda Chan’s parents took on garment work from home at ten cents per piece. Her family’s story is one of surviving low wage jobs, layoffs and subcontracting where the employer paid her mother nearly one-third the wage they had paid to its previous unionized workforce. Zailda Chan took her family’s early experiences of racism, poverty and under-employment, and built her commitment to fight for fairness, dignity and respect for every family.

Zailda Chan joined UNITE HERE Local 40 as an organizer in 2008 and, only ten years later, is now being sworn in as its President.  “UNITE HERE Local 40 is the union for hospitality workers in BC.  UNITE HERE showed me how to fight, and it is an incredible honour to become Local 40’s President.”

Irene Lanzinger, the President of the BC Federation of Labour, and MLA Mable Elmore will join the podium to celebrate Zailda Chan’s achievement alongside Chan’s UNITE HERE Local 40 team.

**

 

Zailda Chan will be available immediately following the swearing in ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Georgia A room, at approximately 2:45PM. Interviews available in English, Cantonese and Spanish.

For media availability of Zailda Chan, please contact: Michelle Travis at 778-960-9785.

Local 40 Election Update

Workers protest Westin Bayshore’s “green” program which hurts hotel housekeepers

Part of Hospitality Workers’ Day of Action across Canada and the U.S.

 

This Thursday, hotels workers held an action at the Westin Bayshore to draw attention to how the company’s “Make a Green Choice” program leads to lost hours and income for workers, dirtier rooms, heavier workloads, and more chemicals being used on the job.

This is part of UNITE HERE ‘s day of action in which tens of thousands of hospitality workers are participating in demonstrations across 40 cities in Canada and the U.S.  Today’s actions include strikes, rallies, public announcements of union organizing campaigns, and worker delegations to call for justice at work.

In Vancouver, hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, protested and organized a delegation to Westin demanding that the Marriott chain end the use of the program.

Workers say the “Green Choice” program is a way for hotels to cut workers’ hours rather than conserve energy.  Under this “green” program, guests are incentivized with a $5 coupon to decline housekeeping for the day.  However, housekeepers report the dark side of the program:  their hours are cut from the schedule – causing a loss of income – and their workloads become heavier.  Rooms left unattended for several days can take three times as long to clean, and hotel housekeepers say they must use extra chemicals to clean these rooms.

Under the guise of the “Green Choice” program, the Westin Bayshore saves money at the expense of hotel housekeepers, primarily women, who see their jobs become more unpredictable and precarious.

Meanwhile, in Toronto this week, UNITE HERE Local 75 partnered with Oxfam Canada’s Shortchanged Campaign to call attention to hotel housekeepers’ working conditions across Canada and around the globe.  To view the video, see: https://www.facebook.com/OxfamCanada/videos/10155665228744277/

Today, women are leading the fight to create more sustainable jobs in the hotel industry!

 

Local 40 represents thousands of hospitality workers in the Lower Mainland and across BC.  The Local is an affiliate of UNITE HERE which represents over 270,000 members working in the hotel, food service, gaming and related industries. 

Notice of proposed Bylaw amendments

Click here for Proposed Bylaw Amendments: http://www.uniteherelocal40.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NEW-Local-40-bylaw-amendments-for-membership-meeting.pdf

Press Conference: Fairbnb Vancouver Calls for Better Enforcement of Short-Term Rentals

Vancouver – September 12, 2017 –  Today at 12pm, a coalition of local Vancouver groups will be releasing a report on the regulation of short-term rentals like Airbnb; the report has been drafted jointly with Canada’s national Fairbnb.ca coalition.

These groups include:

Mole Hill Community Housing Society, Generation Squeeze, LandlordBC, Vancouver Tenants Union, Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative, and UNITE HERE! Local 40

The report addresses a critical weakness in Vancouver’s proposed short-term rental by-law, which is currently under consideration by City Council.

WHERE: Vancouver City Hall Steps, North side.

WHEN: 12:00 noon, until approximately 12:30pm

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105, [email protected]

You can also follow us @fairbnbcanada on Twitter and Fairbnbcanada on Facebook