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.
Click here for Proposed Bylaw Amendments: http://www.uniteherelocal40.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/NEW-Local-40-bylaw-amendments-for-membership-meeting.pdf
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
Approved by Executive Board, 26 June 2017 and 26 July 2017
To be voted on at Membership Meeting on 25 October 2017
Questions? Please call 604-473-4829 or email [email protected]
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
Our next meeting will be held on:
Wednesday, April 26
SFU Harbour Centre, Room 2495
515 West Hastings Street (Vancouver)
All members welcome to attend.
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.
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
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.
Canadian Cities Join Hotel Housekeepers Global Week of Action
A 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.
Vancouver – Octavian Cadabeschi, (604) 813-2105 or [email protected]
Toronto – Marc Hollin, (647) 408-5428 or [email protected]
International – Massimo Frattini, IUF, [email protected]