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.

 

SFU Cafeteria Workers are fighting for job security!

delegationFood service workers at Simon Fraser University, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, are fighting for jobs. Chartwells, part of the Compass Group, recently issued lay-off notices for all 160 food service workers employed at SFU.

The workers demand that the University guarantee their jobs, benefits, and union contract, and that their years of service to the university be respected. On Friday February 6th, cafeteria workers delivered 1,300 student signatures to SFU President Andrew Petter supporting their demands.

SFU’s student newspaper, The Peak, covered the workers’ delegation. Read more about it here:

Local 40 members ratify contract with HIR representing 45 employers

Local 40 members who work for 45 employers across BC have ratified a new agreement with Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR). Hotel, motel, pub and liquor store workers recently ratified the new 4-year contract which will provide improvements to health care coverage and significantly raise wages.

Negotiations concluded on December 9th when HIR employers finally agreed to retroactive wage increases for all properties. Local 40 members at the largest hotels in Vancouver, Victoria and Harrison only agreed to settle if all smaller properties in communities across BC also received retroactive pay.

“It’s great to have been part of this huge victory.  Not only did we get a fair contract, but we learned a lesson: no matter how small we may look, we become stronger when we’re united,” said Claudia Hernandez, room attendant at the Burrard Hotel.

Local 40 addressed not only benefits and wages but engaged employers in a discussion of important workplace issues, such as: guaranteeing year around access to vacations and proper scheduling by seniority at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, wage adjustments after renovations at hotels like the Burrard and St. Regis, and addressing the impact of the upcoming closure at the Empire Landmark Hotel.

Workers at many HIR properties organized workplace actions to win their demands.

“I feel proud of this contract. We fought very hard for 6 months, and in the end, we won our best raises ever and full retro pay,” said Kulwinder Randhawa, room attendant at the Empire Landmark Hotel.

Notice regarding dues receipts (T4’s) & medical benefits (T4A’s)

Union Dues T4’s

Local 40 will be issuing the official Union Dues receipts by the end of February.

It is important to use the official union dues receipt provided to you from the Union.  Do not rely on the amount that your employer puts on your T4 as the employer’s amount may include monies that are not tax-deductible (e.g. initiation and reinstatement fees.)

Medical Benefit T4A’s

The T4A represents the taxable medical benefit paid through your employer.  Morneau Shepell (the Fund) will be mailing your T4A by the end of February.

 

To guarantee that you receive both T4’s, please make sure that both Local 40 and the Health Care Fund/Member Service Centre have your correct address.

For any further questions, please contact:

Local 40 Union Dues Department: 604-473-4825 or 604-473-4824

Local 40 Member Service Centre: 604-294-4441                                                                      (#202-411 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver · www.myhealthandpension.hroffice.com)

 

Join Local 40 at the Women’s March!

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March with UNITE HERE Local 40 at the Vancouver’s Women’s March on Washington this Saturday January 21st.

UNITE HERE has a long history of fighting on issues that matter to women, and we are proud to participate in this march!

Local 40 members and community allies are invited to join our contingent.

We gather at 9:30 am at Thurlow and Canada Place.

UBC petition calls for Sauder centre to turf board member

VANCOUVER – University of British Columbia students delivered a petition today demanding the Sauder Centre for Social Innovation cut its ties with a board member over his company’s treatment of its workers.

Representatives of UBC’s Social Justice Centre say actions by the Vancouver-based Larco hotel chain hurt the Sauder centre’s reputation for creating social and economic good. The students say Larco CEO Amin Lalji shouldn’t be involved in the Sauder Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing.

“We feel, as students, that we have to keep UBC accountable to its promises of social responsibility,” said Social Justice Centre member Eviatar Bach, adding “we can’t let the university become a tool for boosting the reputation of donors we feel are engaged in unethical behavior.”

Representatives from the Social Justice Centre were joined by Larco hotel workers. Unite Here, the union representing the workers, says its members are fighting an uphill battle for respect and fair treatment.

In Toronto, Unite Here Local 75 members at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel recently filed an Unfair Labour Practice against the company for interference in a union organizing drive.  Unite Here Local 40 President Robert Demand said, “Workers at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel are increasingly squeezed by higher workloads while earning significantly lower wages than workers at comparable local hotels.”

“As a housekeeper I work very hard, my job carries a high risk of injury, and many of my co-workers work in pain every day, said Sheraton housekeeper Jean Harvey.  “We deserve to be heard, but I don’t believe Mr. Lalji is listening to us, or treating us with respect.”  Harvey joined the delegation presenting the petition at UBC today.

Demand said the union appreciates the interest and support from UBC students and hopes the petition alerts the Sauder centre to the seriousness of the situation.

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CONTACTS:

UBC Social Justice Centre: Eviatar Bach, 604-727-6117, eviatarbach@gmail.com

Unite Here Local 40:  Octavian Cadabeschi, 604-813-2105, ocadabeschi@unitehere.org

 
The UBC Social Justice Centre aims to serve any and all students interested in finding progressive solutions to societal and global injustice.  UNITE HERE Local 40 is the union for hospitality workers in British Columbia.

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.