Media Advisory: BREAKING! Three downtown Vancouver hotels – Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront – launch indefinite strike over need for safe and stable work

This morning, hundreds of hotel workers from the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, walked off the job in an open-ended strike. This escalation in the dispute follows a lunch hour strike held on Tuesday. After fourteen months of bargaining the hotels have failed to address significant outstanding issues related to workload, safety and job security. Room attendants, chefs, front desk agents and other staff of the high-end hotels are holding downtown strike actions for the first time in nearly two decades, united in their fight to change the industry into one which offers safe, stable and sustainable jobs.

The workers are demanding “One job should be enough!” in Vancouver’s booming hospitality industry which makes record profits year after year, while the cost of living continues to rise in Metro Vancouver. Many of the city’s hotel workers are struggling to provide for their families with precarious, on-call shifts caused by the systemic cutting of hours in these hotels. Safety remains a priority in this dispute, as many workers have stepped forward with complaints of sexual harassment faced on the job, and extreme under-staffing has led to unsafe and unsustainable workload levels. Vancouver’s downtown hotel workers stand together for better quality jobs and an improved quality of life.

Picket Actions

Date: Thursday, Sept 19, 2019

Time: 7:00 AM

Where: Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels

###

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: Historic strike action today; Workers from Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin, Pinnacle hotels to hold lunch hour strike

For the first time in nearly two decades, Vancouver’s downtown hospitality workers – from the  Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels – will walk off the job in a coordinated lunch hour strike, fighting to change the hotel industry into one which provides safe and stable work. The workers will gather outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel for a picketing action. Workers from the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, will join the strike action in spite of a lockout threat imposed by Hotel Georgia management. After this lunch hour, striking staff from the four hotels will be returning to work.

Over 1000 employees of the hotels involved are fighting for safe and sustainable jobs in the industry in order to provide for their families in Metro Vancouver. Safety and workload issues remain a priority in this labour dispute; the systemic cutting of hours in a growing hotel industry has left employees with unsafe and unsustainable workload levels, while expectations for top-tier service in Vancouver continues to rise. The workers are calling for improved safety standards, workload protections, better staffing levels and are demanding “One job should be enough!” in a booming industry which continues to make record profits year after year.

Employees of these prominent Vancouver hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been without a collective agreement for up to 14 months.

 

Lunch Hour Strike    

Date: Tuesday, Sept 17, 2019

Time: 12:00 (Peak time 12:30pm)  

Who: Hotel workers from Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin, Pinnacle hotelsWhere: Hyatt Regency, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver



###

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: Fourth downtown hotel – Pinnacle Harbourfront – issues strike notice; Hyatt Workers to hold picket today

Yesterday, Pinnacle Harbourfront hotel became the latest downtown hotel to join Hotel Georgia, Hyatt and Westin in issuing strike notice. Workers at these prominent Vancouver hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been without a collective agreement for up to 14 months and are prepared to strike in order to achieve better working conditions. Workers at the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, still face a lockout threat imposed by hotel management.

 

Employees of the hotels are demanding “One job should be enough!” in a booming tourism and hospitality industry which continues to make record profits year after year. Workers are fighting for sustainable jobs in the industry order to provide for their families in Metro Vancouver; this includes full-time hours, industry-setting wages, improved benefits and pension, workload protections and increased safety standards.

 

Workers will gather at the Hyatt Regency today at noon during their lunch hour for a picketing action, calling on their employers to bargain a fair contract. Today’s action will also launch the Union’s official boycott of the Hyatt. The workers at Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin and Pinnacle hotels have yet to launch a strike action.

 

Picket Action and Hyatt Boycott Launch 

Date: Friday, Sept 13, 2019

Time: 12:00 – 12:30 PM 

Where: Hyatt Regency, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver

 

 

###

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

ALERT: Westin Bayshore workers issue strike notice; Westin joins Hotel Georgia, Hyatt in threat of strike action

Room attendants, front desk agents, cooks and other hospitality workers at the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, could walk off the job as early as this Saturday. Fed up with little progress in bargaining and without a contract for a year, Westin staff have issued their 72-hour strike notice as of 10:00am Wednesday, September 11th. Workers at the Hyatt Regency issued their 72-hour strike notice earlier this week, meaning picket lines could go up as soon as Thursday morning. The workers at the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, still face a lockout threat imposed by hotel management.

 

Employees of these high-end hotels want stable and sustainable jobs; the hotel industry expects full-time availability from staff without offering full-time hours, leading to increasingly precarious part-time and on-call work. An example of this is Westin’s “Green Choice Program” which encourages guests to skip room cleaning services under the false pretense of helping the environment. This systemic cutting of hours in the industry prevents workers from earning enough to support themselves and their families in Metro Vancouver.

 

For more information contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected]

ALERT: Workers at Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency follow Hotel Georgia staff in issuing strike notice

As of 10:00am on Monday, September 9th, UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel members issued 72-hour strike notice at the Hyatt Regency hotel; this means picket lines could go up as soon as Thursday morning. Workers at the Hotel Georgia issued their strike notice earlier this month, and could strike at any time. Hotel workers from the Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle and Four Seasons hotels are also part of the downtown hotel bargaining. Nearly 1,500 hotel workers and their families in the Metro Vancouver area are affected by current negotiations with the five hotels.

 

Workers at the Hyatt, as well as those at the other high-end hotels have been fighting for safer working conditions, stable jobs and livable wages over months of contract bargaining. Hyatt Regency staff, now without a contract for a year, are prepared to walk off the job to improve their working conditions and build a better future in the industry. Vancouver’s hospitality workers and their families are demanding “One job should be enough!” in a booming tourism industry, which contributes approximately $4.8 billion annually to the city’s economy.

 

For more information please contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected] 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ground-breaking Sexual Harassment Protections at the Hyatt, Four Seasons, Westin Bayshore & Pinnacle Hotels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four major hotels in downtown Vancouver–the Hyatt, Four Seasons, Westin Bayshore & Pinnacle hotels – have now agreed to new safety measures to protect their staff from sexual harassment faced on the job. These hotels are the first hotels in Vancouver to agree to:

 

1. Panic Buttons – Providing staff with panic button security devices.
2. Guest Ban – Banning guests that have sexually harassed an employee.
3. Whistleblower Protection – No retaliation against employees who come forward.

 

These protections are a new standard in the hospitality industry; UNITE HERE Local 40 will continue to push for these measures to be implemented across hotels in B.C.

 

The Hotel Georgia has not agreed to this new standard of protection against sexual harassment.

 

For more information please contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected] 

Press Release: New Survey Reveals Women at Hotel on Brink of Strike Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work

VANCOUVER – A new survey of hotel workers at five major downtown hotels reveals that more women workers at Hotel Georgia report experiencing sexual harassment – guests showing sexual texts or pictures, making unwelcome sexual jokes, comments or asking sexual questions, and guests attempting to touch workers – than the female staff of any of the other surveyed hotels. 56% of surveyed women working at Hotel Georgia report having experienced unwanted physical touching from guests. These survey results display a disturbing lack of response from management to sexualised mistreatment of their female employees. On August 7, workers at the Hotel Georgia overwhelmingly voted in a favour of authorizing a strike action, ready to walk off the job over safety concerns amongst other serious workplace issues faced by staff at the five-star hotel.

In July, hospitality workers at the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle, Four Seasons and Hotel Georgia were surveyed about their experience with sexual harassment. According to the results compiled in the report, Hotel Georgia had the highest proportion of surveyed workers who had been made to feel uncomfortable by guest behaviour (73%), followed by the Westin Bayshore (55%) and the Hyatt (52%). The Hotel Georgia also had the highest proportion of surveyed workers who reported that a guest has touched or tried to touch them in an unwelcome way (56%). Despite high levels of sexual harassment, 69% of workers across the five hotels had not received any sexual harassment training from management.

Earlier this month, certain female employees at the Hotel Georgia filed a human rights complaint against the hotel for gender discrimination, an overly-sexualized work environment and failure to respond appropriately to incidents of harassment or assault in the workplace. The survey report validates the need for urgent change in Vancouver’s hotel industry to ensure women are safe on the job. UNITE HERE is calling for measures such as: panic buttons, a hotel ban of guests that commit sexual harassment, whistleblower protection for those who come forward to report incidents and special safety representatives to investigate harassment, discrimination and safety issues in the hotel.

The threat of strike looms as staff at the Hotel Georgia have given their 72 hour strike notice. Frustrated with working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard, workers are prepared to take action. Sexual assault is the only crime in Vancouver on the rise, having increased 16% since 2016.

###

UNITE HERE Local 40 represents workers throughout B.C. who work in hotels, food service and airports. Local 40 is part of the UNITE HERE International Union, representing over 300,000 workers across Canada and the U.S.

For a copy of the report “Is the Guest Always Right?” please contact Sharan Pawa at [email protected]

ALERT: Downtown hotel strike looms as workers vote in favour of strike at four hotels; Hotel Georgia threatens lockout

Amid the booming tourist season, this week hotel workers from Hyatt, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle voted 89% in favour of taking strike action, while Hotel Georgia workers voted 84% yes for a strike mandate on August 7. In response, the Hotel Georgia issued a lockout notice effective Thursday, August 22. A lockout would be unprecedented at Canada’s #1 hotel and comes on the heels of a human rights complaint filed against the hotel earlier this month; certain female staff who filed the complaint are seeking protection for workers from sexual harassment and assault by hotel guests.

One Job Should Be Enough! Is the demand of 1500 hotel workers and their families.

While Vancouver’s hospitality industry enjoys record profits, the hotels have failed to bargain a contract for staff with livable wages and enough hours to create jobs that can sustain a family in Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam or Surrey. Safety is also a top concern as heavy workloads commonly cause injuries to workers, and several women have recently come forward about sexual harassment and assault faced on the job. Workers at the hotels, most of whom have been without a new contract for over a year, are frustrated with their current working conditions and are prepared to act to achieve changes for a better life.

Click here to sign the petition of support for Vancouver’s Hotel Workers.

For more information, please contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected].

UNITE HERE Local 40 is Moving Offices!

ALERT: Staff vote in favour of strike Vancouver luxury hotel, Hotel Georgia

On August 7, an overwhelming majority of Hotel Georgia employees including room attendants, front desk agents, servers and cooks at the high-end Vancouver hotel, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. The Hotel Georgia, rated Canada’s top hotel by U.S. News & World Report, holds itself to the highest hospitality standards, while failing to address serious workplace issues faced by staff. Frustrated with working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard, employees are prepared to take action for better hospitality jobs.

“We are industry-leading in service and quality. We want to be an industry leader in job satisfaction and safety,” stated James Sugden, a cook at the Hotel Georgia.

Hotel Georgia workers want industry-setting wages and job standards commensurate to the elevated level of service they are expected to provide on a day-to-day basis to the hotel’s wealthy and well-known clientele. Workers are also seeking better protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, as several women have recently come forward with sexual harassment complaints. Some employees report the need to work second or third jobs to make ends meet and the need for expanded access to medical benefits. Other issues include the lack of supplies needed to perform their work and disrespectful treatment by management.