Press Release: Prince George Coast workers protest lockout threat

Prince George – Today, Coast Hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and their labour allies held a demonstration at the Coast Inn of the North against the company’s lockout threat. On Tuesday, Coast Hotels issued a 72-hour lockout notice at Coast Inn of the North, Coast Bastion in Nanaimo, and Coast Victoria Harbourside. The move could affect more than 250 workers and their families in three cities as they head into the holiday season.

This escalating labour dispute comes as BC’s hotel industry has enjoyed record revenues in recent years. For months, Coast Hotels has failed to address workers’ demands for livable wage increases, protection from high workloads, an increased pension contribution, and an end to clawbacks of worker’s tips.

“I’ve worked at for Coast for 27 years. I have hip problems and hip surgery coming up. Our workload is so heavy that I take pain killers first thing in the morning just to work. I’m outraged that the company is threatening to lock us out right before Christmas. With what we’re paid, we live almost paycheck to paycheck. A lockout hurts my ability to pay my bills and my mortgage,” said Susan Bishop, a housekeeper at Coast Inn of the North.

Independent of the lockout notice, Laird Cronk, the new president of the BCFED, called for mediation between UNITE HERE Local 40 and Coast Hotels after workers at Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion held a one-day strike on Saturday. The union and the company are currently in mediation this Wednesday and Thursday. The Union has set a deadline of midnight on December 13 to reach a settlement and has called on the labour movement to pull business from the hotels if no deal is reached.

“The labour movement has loyally supported the Coast Inn of the North and we are outraged by the company’s lockout notice. Our support will be a thing of the past if the company continues with this aggressively anti-union action that hurts workers,” said Natalie Fletcher, President of the North Central Labour Council of BC. She continued, “Prince George unions are ready to pull their business from the Coast hotel if a settlement is not reached by midnight on Thursday. If the company locks workers out over the holidays, some of that business may never come back.”

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

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Breaking: Coast Bastion Hotel Workers on Strike!

WHAT:  UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel members at Coast Bastion Hotel are on a one-day strike.

WHEN:  Saturday, December 8, 2018; 6:30AM

WHERE: Coast Bastion Hotel, 11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC

 WHO:   Approximately 100 hotel housekeepers, housemen, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, food & beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman, maintenance workers and others.

 WHY: As of 6:30AM, workers at the Coast Bastion Hotel walked off the job today for a one-day strike.  The hotel’s housekeepers, cooks, food and beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman and others – all members of UNITE HERE! Local 40 – are taking strike action after months of bargaining in which Coast Hotels has failed to address demands for decent wage increases, has ignored room attendants crippling workloads, proposed just pennies in pension improvements, and wants to claw back workers’ tips.

Coast Bastion has been rated the brand’s #1 hotel. Nanaimo’s tourism industry has welcomed record numbers of visitors in recent years, in line with cities across British Columbia. While Coast Hotels is reaping the benefits of a tourism boom, the cost of living in Nanaimo is steadily increasing, yet Coast Bastion workers are falling behind.

“The Coast Bastion announced record revenues for several years in a row, yet all of us struggle to get by in Nanaimo. We work hard to make the Coast Bastion the brand’s hotel of the year, and we have walked off the job today to fight for wages and health benefits that we can actually live on,” says Garry Constable, a server at the Coast Bastion.

Coast Bastion is one of three Coast hotels bargaining together under a master agreement. Hotel workers at Coast Victoria Harbourside and Coast Inn of the North have raised similar issues across the chain.

“Too little progress has been made at the negotiating table for months, and we hope this one day strike sends a message to the company to get serious and listen to their staff, stop demanding servers share their tips with management, and start agreeing to safer and more sustainable workload for housekeepers,” say Local 40’s executive director, Robert Demand.

The next round of bargaining is scheduled for December 12-13.

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

Food service workers at Victoria Intl Airport secure new contract

PRESS RELEASE

New agreement includes significant raises and improves staffing

Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi
Phone: 604-813-2105
E-mail: [email protected]

Food service workers at Victoria International Airport (YYJ) represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have ratified a new contract with the airport’s food service provider, Compass Group, by an overwhelming margin. The new agreement end the long, protracted labour dispute and addresses workers’ concerns about low pay and unreasonably high workloads due to understaffing.

The workers, employed at YYJ’s White Spot, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Spinnakers on the Fly, will receive significant raises of up to 24% over the life of the agreement and retroactive bonuses. Most non-tipped workers will soon reach $15/hour by June 1 – well ahead of the BC Government’s scheduled minimum wage increases and ahead of most concession workers at competing airports, like Vancouver International Airport. The new agreement also establishes the first ever pension for food workers at YYJ and includes critical workload protections that will tackle understaffing.

“This is a foundational contract that reflects the hard work our members put into their jobs every day. We can now attract experienced workers to help with the chronic under-staffing and to help our team succeed as our workplace grows,” said Mark Atkins, lead cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.

Over the last 18 months, workers engaged in multiple job actions and demonstrations at YYJ. They were backed by the strong support of union allies, elected officials, community groups and passengers from the Greater Victoria region who demanded that contracted food workers at YYJ not be given second-class treatment.

“For too long, I have felt that my work here at the airport was undervalued. The wage increases and benefits we will receive with this new contract are starting to change that, so that I can afford to stay here and do the work that I love,” said Karlene Kipling, a cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.

The new contract will expire in 2020. YYJ’s contracted workers will continue to press the Victoria Airport Authority and the province to address contract flipping at airports and other institutions in B.C.

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Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion Hotel Workers Ready to Strike

November 23, 2018
Sharan Pawa
604-473-4830
[email protected]

Nanaimo Hotel Workers Pose Strike as Holiday Season Looms

Workers Ready to Walk Off from Coast Bastion Hotel

 

Nanaimo – Coast Bastion Hotel workers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. Frustrated with the lack of progress made in contract negotiations with hotel management, the workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, are prepared to take action for better hotel jobs.

 

B.C.’s tourism industry is booming, creating record profits for hotels. Yet hotel workers across our province are continually struggling to make ends meet, as well as secure medical benefits and liveable pensions. Coast Bastion Hotel workers have been in over a hundred hours of bargaining, yet management has failed to address serious workplace issues.

 

Coast Bastion workers are seeking a wage increase that reflects the increased cost of living in Nanaimo and a fair pension plan for staff that would keep retired workers out of poverty. Workers are also calling on the company to address heavy housekeeping workloads which increases the risk of injuries for room attendants on a daily basis as well as being detrimental to their long-term health.

 

While Coast Hotel workers are poised to strike in Nanaimo, workers at other Coast hotels in Victoria, Prince George and Kelowna continue to bargain.

 

After nine long days in three different cities across B.C., we’ve tried to negotiate with the company. Coast workers are fed up with the little progress made on wages and pension, and their absolutely disrespectful attitude addressing workload and language changes. The workers’ vote in favor of a strike demonstrates how we stand together in demanding a fair contract,” said Garry Constable, a Shop Steward at Coast Bastion Hotel.

 

Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Nanaimo on November 29.

 

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UNBC Cafeteria Workers Ratify New Contract

New agreement averts strike on campus

Union bargaining committee members

UNBC’s cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have unanimously ratified a new agreement with the university’s food provider, Compass Group.  Narrowly averting a strike, the new agreement ends the prolonged labour dispute at the university and addresses workers’ longstanding concerns over pay and job security.

Workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and Tim Hortons will receive raises of $2/hour at minimum, additional bonus pay, while entry-level wages for new workers will increase substantially to better meet the cost of living in Prince George.  The agreement establishes a new pension benefit for workers, significantly improves medical benefits and enshrines stronger anti-harassment and anti-discrimination standards to protect the rights of members engaged in union activity.  Cafeteria workers also achieved a path to job security with the new agreement.

“We are very pleased that these issues could be resolved.  We feel this agreement addresses our concerns and allows us to continue providing service to the students who rely on us,” said Jeannie Gilbert, a cook at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall.

The workers have engaged in numerous job actions since the contract expired in April 2017.  After a year of little progress in bargaining, the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice earlier this month.  Workers have received an outpouring of support from faculty, students, labour and community allies who petitioned the university and participated in demonstrations and other actions.

“We want to acknowledge the support we received from the university community, including students, staff and faculty.  Without their support, we may not have been able to avoid a strike,” said Melody Danchuk, a long-term cafeteria worker and member of the union bargaining committee.

 

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

UNITE HERE! Local 40 issues 72 hour strike notice at UNBC!

Prince George – UNITE HERE! Local 40 members who serve food at UNBC have issued a 72 hour strike notice. The union represents workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and at Tim Hortons.

The workers are employees of Chartwells, UNBC’s food service contractor. The union and the contractor have been engaged in contract negotiations for over a year. Many of the workers earn low wages and have poor benefits – issues that must be resolved in order to avoid a strike. Additionally, workers lack even basic job security in case the university changes food service contractors. Cafeteria workers are committed to transforming food service jobs at UNBC into stable, living wage jobs. The next round of bargaining is scheduled for Tuesday, October 9.

Check back here for updates on a possible strike.

Local 40 Organizing Internships & Training Opportunities

Local 40 is building a progressive alliance of workers, students and community activists by training, agitating, and inspiring people to fight for justice. We place a lot of emphasis on training and fieldwork. People learn by doing, whether it’s hearing about the real situations of working people in a house visit, doing research on a corporation, speaking truth to power on a delegation, or recruiting friends, family, or coworkers to an action. UNITE HERE is committed to inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to join our movement.

Leadership Development Training

Learn organizing skills alongside our rank and file leaders!  You’ll learn how to have organizing conversations, how to campaign strategically, and how to understand our place within the larger movement for social justice. Finally, you’ll get the opportunity to put all of this to use by doing live fieldwork on one of our local campaigns.

Learn from skilled organizers, researchers, and rank and file leaders who have committed themselves to developing their own leadership and yours.

Join us and be inspired by people like you who are rising to take up the struggle for economic and social justice!  

To learn more, please contact Mike Biskar: [email protected]

Statement by Zailda Chan, BC’s First Chinese Canadian Union President, about City of Vancouver’s Official Apology for Historical Discrimination against the Chinese community

(For Chinese language version, see below)

April 20, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) – “This is a historical moment for many Chinese Canadians and especially for family like me who are descendants of Head Tax payers and Canadian railway workers.

“It is important for Vancouverites to understand and acknowledge the history of Chinese segregation and racism in Vancouver.  Fairness is essential and that’s what drives my service with the union.

“Many hospitality workers of UNITE HERE Local 40 are immigrants and many of them are from China. They work under challenging and precarious conditions like long hours, heavy workloads and risk of injury yet they earn only minimum pay with no job security. They have endured much hardship to build a life here, and their contribution to the success of Vancouver’s hospitality industry is often unrecognized.

“An apology would only be meaningful if there are actions to bring changes. I long to see changes in the working and living condition of workers in the City. I want to empower them to fight for equitable jobs and respect, not only in our workplaces but also in our communities.”

 

溫市政府就過去歧視政策向華裔社區正式道歉

卑詩首位華裔加人工會主席陳西娜感想

April 20, 2018 (卑詩省・溫哥華) – 「對於許多華裔加人及尤其像我的家人那樣,作為人頭稅和加拿大鐵路工人的後人,這是一個歷史性時候。

讓溫哥華市民明白、認識這段華人遭受歧視及隔離的歷史十分重要。公平是必要的;這也是推動我服務工會的原因。

不少UNITE HERE 40 分會會員是移民,當中不少來自中國。他們經常在有挑戰性及危險的環境下長時間辛勞工作,卻只有最低時薪,也沒有就業保障。

一個具意義的道歉,需要配合行動帶來改變。我期待看到工人有更好的工作及生活條件。我想他們不只在工作上,在社區裡也能更有力爭取尊重及平等待遇。」

 

For media availability, please contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785

 

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]