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, ocadabeschi@unitehere.org

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice: Proposed Local 40 Bylaw Amendments

Approved by Executive Board, 26 June 2017 and 26 July 2017

To be voted on at Membership Meeting on 25 October 2017

Location TBA

Questions?  Please call 604-473-4829 or email local40campaign@gmail.com

Go to this link to view Bylaw Amendments: http://www.uniteherelocal40.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NEW-Local-40-bylaw-amendments-for-membership-meeting.pdf

 

 

Upcoming: UNITE HERE Local 40 Membership Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on:

Wednesday, April 26

5pm

SFU Harbour Centre, Room 2495

515 West Hastings Street (Vancouver)

All members welcome to attend.

SFU dining hall workers secure job guarantees from incoming contractor

Burnaby, BC – SFU dining hall workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have reached an agreement with incoming food service contractor, Sodexo.  The agreement reached Thursday night means that all 174 dining hall workers will be rehired, with their seniority and wages intact.  Sodexo also agrees to offer equivalent health care and pension benefits to what workers currently hold. The agreement also ensures the workers’ union will be voluntarily recognized by the company on May 1.

“We are happy that we resolved our main concerns with Sodexho – that our jobs are safe and our union will be recognized.  Now, we look forward to working on our contract,” said Bruna Padularosa, a deli worker in Mackenzie Cafe who has worked at SFU for 29 years.

The agreement comes after weeks of actions held by workers and students demanding that SFU and Sodexo rehire all workers and recognize their years of service.  Dining hall workers received an outpouring of support from students, faculty and campus staff in the fight to retain their jobs.

“Cafeteria workers at SFU just won the first round of their fight.  They have shown the SFU Administration that vague promises aren’t good enough.  More than that, they have taught the rest of us how to organize–and just how much power we have when we do,” said George Temple, a PhD student and member of TSSU.

“From the beginning, we have said that the only acceptable transition is one in which SFU and the new contractor not only commit to hiring the existing workers, but to recognize their years of service, and keep their health care and other benefits,” said Robert Demand, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.  “This agreement puts us on a positive path with Sodexo,” said Demand.

The dining services contract was recently awarded to Sodexo.  Sodexo will be replacing current food vendor, Chartwells, on May 1.

While dining hall workers were resolving issues with Sodexo, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike in response to Chartwells’ failure to fairly compensate workers over the last school year.  The issue must be resolved before Chartwells leaves on April 30.  The workers’ contract expired last August.

 

Workers Stage 12-Hour Protest at Sheraton Van Airport Hotel

WHAT:  12-hour protest by workers from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel and other area-hotels.  Starts with 7am Wake-Up action, choir performance at 1pm, and ends with an afternoon rally at 5pm.

WHO:  Hospitality members of UNITE HERE Local 40, MLA Mabel Elmore, MLA Shane Simpson, community supporters representing the Kairos Network, UBC Social Justice Centre and the Labour Chorus.

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

WHEN:  Thursday, December 1, 2016; 7am– 7pm

 

BACKGROUND: 

RICHMOND – Workers at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport say the high-end hotel has to stop paying low-end wages. The 180 unionized housekeepers, front desk staff, bellhops and cooks will rally outside the hotel for 12 hours Thursday starting with a Wake-Up noise demonstration at 7am.  Workers are seeking wage and workload parity with comparable hotels in the area that pay about $4 more per hour.

The call for a fair wage adjustment during current contact talks comes during unparalleled growth in the hotel industry.  Vancouver’s hotels are enjoying record profits with revenues expected to continue growing in 2017.

Sheraton’s workers earn an average of $8,000 a year less than workers at similar high-end hotels.  Hotel workers, mostly immigrants and mostly women, are speaking out against disrespectful treatment and the economic impact of being left behind. They want owner Larco Hospitality to improve standards and workload safety at the hotel and bargain directly with the union.  Little progress has been made in negotiations so far. Contact talks are scheduled to resume on Friday.

 

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Press Conference: Community Leaders in Vancouver & Toronto Call on Larco Hospitality to Stop Hurting Housekeepers

Canadian Cities Join Hotel Housekeepers Global Week of Action

img_0579A joint press conference was held today in Vancouver and Toronto with community leaders representing several Filipino, South Asian and faith groups and UNITE HERE Canada.  Community leaders demanded that Larco Hospitality stop mistreating hotel workers, many of them immigrant women, who report heavy workloads and experience work-related pain and who have experienced violations of basic rights in their efforts to organize.

This action was part of the Hotel Housekeepers Global Week of Action, featuring multiple coordinated actions by housekeepers in more than a dozen countries around the world.

In Vancouver, representatives from the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), KAIROS Vancouver, Longhouse Ministry, Richmond Poverty Response Committee, and Langara College Professor Indira Prahst, joined to support hotel workers from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel who are members of UNITE HERE Local 40.

“We stand in solidarity with the workers of Sheraton and we appeal to management of the Sheraton to look at the issues and give appropriate wages and conditions for labour,” said Chelliah Premrajah, from the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy.  He added, “The large number of employees here are immigrants or are descendants of immigrants.  We want their standard of living to improve, particularly in Richmond, where housing is extremely unaffordable and transport costs are increasing, making it harder to live here.”

In Toronto, speakers included members of Migrante Canada, an international human rights organization for Filipino migrants, members of AnakBayan Toronto (AB-TO), an all-youth advocacy group organizing events around issues affecting the Filipino community in Canada, and hotel workers from the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel who recently voted to join UNITE HERE Local 75 and are currently negotiating their first contract.

Background: Larco Investments, and its affiliate, Larco Hospitality, is a major hotel owner/operator in Canada.  Many of Larco’s hotel employees are first generation immigrants who are Filipino, South Asian and Chinese.  During this week’s Hotel Housekeepers Global Week of Action, community leaders in Vancouver and Toronto will be calling on Larco to stop mistreating workers at their hotels.

In Vancouver, workers at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport hotel, owned by an affiliate of Larco Hospitality, are being squeezed by heavy workloads and lower wage and benefit standards than at comparable hotels, earning, on average $8,000 less annually.

In Toronto, workers at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel report that Larco Hospitality interfered with their right to organize at the hotel through the use of intimidation and harassment tactics during a union drive this summer.  In response, UNITE HERE Local 75 filed charges against Larco with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.  The workers are currently negotiating their first contract.

Hotel workers, particularly housekeepers, are often immigrants, women, and people of colour, and are the invisible backbone of the hotel industry.  The work they do can be grueling and dangerous.  It entails lifting mattresses that can weigh up to 100 pounds, pushing heavy carts, and dealing with guests behind closed doors.  Heavy and repetitive workloads combined with intense time pressures can contribute to chronic pain and injuries for housekeepers.

Housekeepers affiliated with UNITE HERE in Canada and the U.S. are joining worldwide protests this week to spotlight safety concerns and poor wages faced by women who clean hotel rooms.  The Hotel Housekeepers Global Week of Action is from October 31 to November 6.

UNITE HERE Canada is the union for hospitality workers and represents thousands of hotel and food service workers throughout Canada.

 

Contacts:

Vancouver – Octavian Cadabeschi, (604) 813-2105 or ocadabeschi@unitehere.org.

Toronto – Marc Hollin, (647) 408-5428 or mhollin@unitehere.org

International – Massimo Frattini, IUF, Massimo.Frattini@iuf.org

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 mtravis@unitehere.org.

Inflight Catering Workers Ratify New 3-Year Agreement

Gate Gourmet Union Bargaining Committee

Gate Gourmet Union Bargaining Committee

Members of UNITE HERE Local 40 working for inflight caterer Gate Gourmet ratified their new three-year contract this week.  The new agreement achieves significant wage increases, restores overtime on the 6th and 7th days of work, provides new protection for sick and injured workers, and covers increases in medical costs.

The new agreement narrowly averted a strike by inflight catering workers at Vancouver International Airport.  Local 40, which represents 400 food preparation workers and drivers at Gate Gourmet, had issued a 72-hour strike notice on August 16.

“After weeks of hard bargaining, we’ve got a deal that addresses the rising cost of living in Vancouver as well as other respect issues in the workplace.  Going forward, we are happy to settle a contract that will make sure workers can securely take part in the company’s growing prosperity,” said Phillip Lin, a member of the Union bargaining committee and a high lift driver at Gate Gourmet.

UNITE HERE Local 40 Issues 72-Hour Strike Notice for 400 Gate Gourmet Workers

UNITE HERE Local 40 has filed a 72-hour strike notice with the Labour Relations Board on behalf of 400 inflight catering workers at Gate Gourmet.  Gate Gourmet provides food and beverages to major airlines like Air Canada, United Airlines, Air China and others.

The Union is scheduled to bargain with the company tomorrow, Friday, August 19th.  Check back for more details on a possible strike at YVR.

 

Gate Gourmet workers hold press conference, issue travel alert

 

Gate Gourmet member delivers statement

Gate Gourmet member delivers statement

On August 11th, UNITE HERE Local 40 airline catering members who work for Gate Gourmet held a press conference to issue a travel alert and discuss a possible strike at Vancouver International Airport.  Gate Gourmet is a global inflight caterer that services Air Canada, British Airways, Air China, and other major airlines.

Citing the company’s failed promise to pay workers properly after a three-year wage freeze, the stripping away of overtime on the 6th and 7th day of work, and poor treatment of injured workers returning to work, Gate Gourmet workers addressed the media and described what changes they want to see in their workplace.  They were joined by Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East, and Aaron Ekman, Secretary-Treasurer, BC Federation of Labour, who spoke in support of the workers.

“I stay overtime so the airlines can get their food on time.  Sometimes we go home at 2am to make sure food is delivered. But we are so understaffed, we are doing the jobs of two people.   On top of that, the company manages to take away our overtime on the 6th and 7th day of work.  Some of us end up working 8 to 10 days in a row without overtime,” said bargaining committee member, Leonisa Paraton, Team Leader-Cold Section, and 20-year employee.

Two other veteran employees described poor treatment of those who return to work after experiencing illness or injury.  Months after returning to work, and in one case a year later, the company told workers that their seniority would be reduced retroactively, making them more vulnerable to layoffs and adversely impacting their shift assignments.

Gate Gourmet is benefiting from a turnaround in the airline industry and has won lucrative new business recently.  In Vancouver, the tourism industry is booming.  Passenger numbers for Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are at an all-time high with a record 20.3 million visitors in 2015 and expected to grow in 2016. Yet, the company has failed to adequately recognize the economic sacrifices made by their 400 employees, mostly immigrants from China and other parts of the globe, who agreed to concessions in their last contract three years ago.

On August 3rd, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize job actions, up to and including a strike, if no progress is made at the table.  Both sides remain far apart and have entered into mediation.  The workers’ contract expired on July 31, 2016.