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

Vancouver Fairbnb Members Release Report on Platform Accountability

Broad Vancouver coalition calls on the City to hold Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms accountable for illegal listings

Vancouver – A Vancouver-based coalition representing workers, tenants, landlords, housing advocates, and hospitality providers has joined forces to demand that the City of Vancouver hold short-term rental platforms directly accountable for illegal listings. The local groups are affiliated with Fairbnb.ca, Canada’s national coalition advocating for fair rules for short-term rentals.

Fairbnb.ca’s Vancouver members include: Mole Hill Housing Society, Generation Squeeze, LandlordBC, Vancouver Tenant’s Union, Homes not Hotels, Bed & Breakfast Innkeeper’s Guild, the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative Society and UNITE HERE! Local 40.

During today’s press conference, the Coalition urged the City to address weaknesses in its currently proposed short-term rental regulations which will come before Council this fall. The press conference was timed with the release of Fairbnb.ca’s new report, Accountable at the Source: Why Platform Accountability Can’t Be Left out of Vancouver’s Short-Term Rental Regulation.

Local 40 member, hotel worker Jonathan Milne was one of the speakers at the press conference outside Vancouver City Hall, along with Quentin Wright of Mole Hill Community Housing, David Hutniak of LandlordBC, Liam McLure of the Vancouver Tennant’s Union, and Tom de Grey of the SRO Collaborative.

Download the Report Here: http://fairbnb.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Fairbnb_Platform-Accountability_final.pdf

Media Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or ocadabeschi@unitehere.org.

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

 

 

Inn at Laurel Point Workers Ratify 3-Year Collective Agreement

Laurel Point’s “Wedding Advisory” comes to an end.

Inn at Laurel Point workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, have won a new contract that raises wage and benefit standards at the hotel. Under terms of the new agreement which was overwhelmingly ratified on June 21st, Inn at Laurel Point workers will receive:

• Wage gains of 3%, 2.5% and 2.5%, respectively, for most workers during each year of the agreement;
• Fully retroactive wage increases;
• Improved eligibility for medical coverage to 20 hours/week;
• New paramedical, dental and vision benefits;
• Protection against reductions in benefits and changes in cost by the employer;
• Renovation recall rights in the event of future hotel remodeling; and
• A process to address outstanding workload issues.

This agreement comes in the wake of months of protests and actions at the Inn at Laurel Point. Community groups, religious leaders, politicians, local unions, and local Victoria businesses demonstrated their support for the workers through delegations, rallies and other actions.

The new agreement also brings the to an end a “Wedding Advisory” issued in May to educate prospective wedding customers about working conditions at the hotel.

“At a time when the hospitality industry is generating record revenues, this agreement represents significant economic gains and an opportunity for our members at the Laurel Point to share in the industry’s success,” said Robert Demand, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

 

Wedding Advisory Issued for the Inn at Laurel Point

Overworked employees at top wedding destination — Inn at Laurel Point –  ask management, “Where’s the Love?”

– Housekeepers launch appeal to wedding planners and couples –

Wedding season is upon us, but workers from the Inn at Laurel Point are not feeling the love.  Laurel Point hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and their community supporters held a press conference on Friday May 26th, issuing a “Wedding Advisory” to inform prospective newlyweds about unfair working conditions at the high-end hotel.

The Inn at Laurel Point is a popular wedding destination for young couples looking to tie the knot. While the Inn promotes itself as a socially responsible hotel, workers describe a different story behind the scenes. Laurel Point housekeepers report having to work through their breaks. Bellmen are expected to unclog toilets on top of carrying baggage.

“We all made concessions during the recession years, enduring high workloads and skeleton crews while the hotel was saving money. Now that we are in a tourism boom, I would like to see that goodwill come back to us,” says Susanne Kunert a worker at Aura, the hotel’s in-house restaurant.

A number of unions and community groups turned out to support the workers, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Professional Employees Association, BCGEU, Together against Poverty Society, and the faith based Kairos Victoria were all on hand for the announcement.

“I want to extend our solidarity to all of the staff, and to let management know that if these issues persist, we will have discussions with Local 40 before we book this hotel. We don’t want to support a business that doesn’t treat workers fairly,” said Sussanne Skidmore, Executive Vice President of the BCGEU.

 

 

 

***Wedding Advisory for Inn at Laurel Point***

Press Advisory – May 24, 2017:

Overworked employees at top wedding destination — Inn at Laurel Point –  ask management, “Where’s the Love?”

Housekeepers launch appeal to wedding planners and couples

WHAT: Wedding season is upon us, but workers from the Inn at Laurel Point Inn are not feeling the love.  Laurel Point hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and their community supporters will hold a press conference this Friday, issuing a “Wedding Advisory” to inform prospective newlyweds about unfair working conditions at the high-end hotel.

WHERE: Inn at Laurel Point Hotel, 680 Montreal St, Victoria.

WHEN: Friday, May 26 @ 12:00pm.

WHO: Inn at Laurel Point workers and local community & religious allies.

WHY:  The Inn at Laurel Point is a popular wedding destination for young couples looking to tie the knot.  While the hotel promotes itself as a socially responsible hotel, workers describe a much different story behind the scenes. Laurel Point housekeepers, primarily immigrant women, report having to work through their breaks. Bellmen are expected to unclog toilets on top of  carrying baggage.

For months, workers have appealed to hotel managers for fairer treatment, but their concerns have gone unanswered.

Now Laurel Point hotel employees say they’re fed up with chronic under-staffing and unfair treatment. In response, they’re issuing a Wedding Advisory to inform wedding planners, vendors and prospective newlyweds about second-class treatment of workers at the Inn at Laurel Point.

VISUALS: Workers in uniform with signs saying, “Inn at Laurel Point: Where’s the Love?”

For more information, please contact Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or ocadabeschi@unitehere.org.

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.