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.

 

Gate Gourmet workers hold press conference, issue travel alert

 

Gate Gourmet member delivers statement

Gate Gourmet member delivers statement

On August 11th, UNITE HERE Local 40 airline catering members who work for Gate Gourmet held a press conference to issue a travel alert and discuss a possible strike at Vancouver International Airport.  Gate Gourmet is a global inflight caterer that services Air Canada, British Airways, Air China, and other major airlines.

Citing the company’s failed promise to pay workers properly after a three-year wage freeze, the stripping away of overtime on the 6th and 7th day of work, and poor treatment of injured workers returning to work, Gate Gourmet workers addressed the media and described what changes they want to see in their workplace.  They were joined by Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East, and Aaron Ekman, Secretary-Treasurer, BC Federation of Labour, who spoke in support of the workers.

“I stay overtime so the airlines can get their food on time.  Sometimes we go home at 2am to make sure food is delivered. But we are so understaffed, we are doing the jobs of two people.   On top of that, the company manages to take away our overtime on the 6th and 7th day of work.  Some of us end up working 8 to 10 days in a row without overtime,” said bargaining committee member, Leonisa Paraton, Team Leader-Cold Section, and 20-year employee.

Two other veteran employees described poor treatment of those who return to work after experiencing illness or injury.  Months after returning to work, and in one case a year later, the company told workers that their seniority would be reduced retroactively, making them more vulnerable to layoffs and adversely impacting their shift assignments.

Gate Gourmet is benefiting from a turnaround in the airline industry and has won lucrative new business recently.  In Vancouver, the tourism industry is booming.  Passenger numbers for Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are at an all-time high with a record 20.3 million visitors in 2015 and expected to grow in 2016. Yet, the company has failed to adequately recognize the economic sacrifices made by their 400 employees, mostly immigrants from China and other parts of the globe, who agreed to concessions in their last contract three years ago.

On August 3rd, workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize job actions, up to and including a strike, if no progress is made at the table.  Both sides remain far apart and have entered into mediation.  The workers’ contract expired on July 31, 2016.

March with Local 40 at Pride 2016!

Love Has No borders posterJoin UNITE HERE Local 40 at the Vancouver Pride Parade this year!

March with the union, defend LGBTQ rights, and support hotel workers as part of our campaign to end job discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

This year our union’s theme is “Love Has No Borders!”

The Pride parade takes place Sunday, July 31st at Noon.

Our Local will gather at 11:00am on the west side of Thurlow Street, between Robson and Haro.

For more info contact: [email protected] or call 604-813-2105.

 

Hotel workers seek gains in HIR negotiations as BC’s hotel industry booms

Just in case...

Local 40 committee members address management during bargaining

Helen - Housekeeping - Holiday Inn North Vancouver

Helen Baisa- Housekeeper – Holiday Inn North Van

In the midst of a boom for Metro Vancouver’s tourism industry, UNITE HERE Local 40 has begun negotiations with the 48 hospitality employers that are represented by  Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR).

Over seventy union members attended the first bargaining session at the Holiday Inn Downtown on June 8th. Members representing properties across the Greater Vancouver Area, Victoria, Harrison, and other parts of B.C addressed management during the meeting. They highlighted the need for better wages, benefits, and retirement packages.

Metro Vancouver’s tourism industry surpassed nine million visitors for the first time ever in 2015, and is on track to surpass that this year.  According to industry analysts, hotel profits were up 28% in 2015 and are forecast to grow 13% in 2016.  Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to skyrocket for workers. Local 40 members look forward to sharing in the industry’s success and hope to see tangible increases to their wages and benefits in this upcoming contract.

During the bargaining session, Helen Baisa, room attendant at the Holiday Inn North Vancouver, spoke about how the rising cost of living is making life increasingly difficult for hotel workers. “Rent, food, all utilities are higher, and we cannot afford to pay them all,” she said, “so we are asking for an increase to our wages.”

Alice Wong, a room attendant from the Empire Landmark Hotel, echoed those sentiments and focused on the need for an improved pension plan.  “I have worked at the Empire Landmark Hotel for 41 years.  Hopefully, I can be comfortable when I retire.”

 

 

 

 

Newly ratified contract for Hilton Metrotown Workers

New agreement maintains top hotel standard in Vancouver.

Burnaby, BC – UNITE HERE Local 40 members at Hilton Metrotown ratified their new union contract with a 96% YES vote!  The agreement increases economics by $1.45 over the next two years, preserves hard-fought Room Attendant workload standards, and enhances job security language.

Hilton Bargaining Committe, April 27, 2016

Hilton Bargaining Committee, April 27, 2016

Workers faced a tough round of bargaining, but with the support of union customers and elected officials, along with actions in the streets and in the workplace, Hilton workers sent a strong message to the company that we will stand up for decent standards.

“We are so happy that we were able to keep our workload the same.  Housekeeping is very hard work, and we fought very hard to keep our standard.  Thank you to all of the Unions and politicians that supported us in this struggle,” said Delia Labrador, a Room Attendant who has worked at the Hilton for 16 years.

Among the many union customers who showed their support for Hilton workers were BCGEU, HEU, PSAC, CUPE, MoveUP, Steelworkers and Telecommunications Workers, HSA, and the BC Federation of Labour.

The Hilton bargaining committee worked with hotel management to negotiate an agreement that acknowledged difficult economic conditions at the hotel, while avoiding concessions.  The Hilton withdrew its demands to increase workload for Room Attendants and to eliminate severance pay.

The new contract provides enhanced job security language to protect workers’ jobs, seniority, wages and benefits in the event of a sale, subcontracting or leasing in the workplace.

“I’m so glad we were able to win new job security protections.  It gives us the peace of mind we need to provide quality service to the guests,” said long-term employee, Sergio Moyer, Front Desk Supervisor.

The new contract will expire in 2018.  The Hilton workers will join other Metro Vancouver hotel workers from the Hyatt Vancouver, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront, Four Seasons, Hotel Georgia and Pacific Gateway, who will all bargain in 2018.

 

Arbitrator Rules in Favor of UNITE HERE Local 40 at Nanaimo Golf Club

Binding settlement brings labour dispute to an end.

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Nanaimo billboard co-sponsored by Nanaimo-Duncan & District Labour Council and Local 40.

The longstanding labour dispute between the Nanaimo Golf Club and food and beverage workers ended with an arbitrator ruling in favor of the workers on April 26th.

Contract negotiations broke down April 24, 2015 when Club management locked out two dozen Clubhouse workers, all members of UNITE HERE Local 40.  After 11 months, the Club acceded to Union demands to allow workers to return to work this March and agreed to go to binding arbitration.

The Arbitrator’s binding decision awarded a 2% wage hike in 2016 and 2017 and a lump sum payment to the workers.  The arbitrator’s decision vindicates the union’s position and blocked the Club’s attempt to gain concessions.

Club management locked out workers to force them to accept a number of concessions, such as lowering wages for new hires, having bargaining unit work performed by non-union employees, and restricting union members right to file charges against workers crossing a picket line.

“The arbitrator’s ruling proves what we were asking for was fair and reasonable. I hope others now see that too,” said Kayla Werezak, a returning server.

Bryce Eldred, another returning worker, is glad to be back on the job. “This is a big win.  Good union jobs are hard to find in Nanaimo, and I’m glad to have one here,” said Eldred.

Now that workers have returned to work and have a new contract, UNITE HERE Local 40 encourages golfers and the general public to once again patronize the Nanaimo Golf Club greens, dining room and catering facilities.

 

BREAKING NEWS: Nanaimo Golf Club Lifts Lockout

After more than 1o months behind a picket line, the Nanaimo Gold Club has lifted the lockout of their workers!

PRESS RELEASE – Hilton Travel Alert

local40logo-300x155

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
CONTACT: Kirsty Peterson, [email protected], 604-619-2434

Hotel Union and Labor Allies Issue Travel Alert for Hilton Metrotown

Some unions already planning alternate arrangements in case of labour dispute

(Burnaby, BC) Workers from the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown are joining together with leaders from the labour movement Tuesday to announce a travel alert for their hotel. British Columbia’s hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 40 is concerned about the possibility of a lockout and is preparing for the worst at the Hilton. In response, union workers are alerting hotel customers and allies to prepare for the dispute.

“As one of Hilton Metrotown’s largest customers it’s concerning that the hotel is unwilling to agree to a fair contract with their employees,” says Stephanie Smith, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU). “Our senior leadership has determined that in the event of a lockout or other labour dispute, the BCGEU will immediately cease all business with Hilton Metrotown and would have to reevaluate our future dealings with the hotel.”

Local 40 has reached major settlements in all other major upscale union hotels, the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle, Pacific Gateway Hotel, Four Seasons, Rosewood Hotel Georgia and the most recent being the Coast Master agreement that settled last week. The Hilton Vancouver Metrotown is the only hotel that refuses to budge on current contract proposals.

Current proposals leave virtually no room for staff raises. Additionally, Hilton management wants to increase the workload for housekeepers and eliminate severance pay.

“This has been the toughest set of bargaining in all my years at the hotel. Management has proposed concession after concession. That’s why we are taking the difficult step of calling for this Travel Alert,” said Front Desk Supervisor Sergio Moyer, who has worked at the Hilton since its opening in 1999.

As the Hilton Metrotown is Burnaby’s only premium full-service hotel, the risk of a labour dispute is causing some unions and labour-friendly travellers to reconsider their upcoming bookings. This would divert business from Burnaby to other cities such as Vancouver and Richmond. Although the workers and the union are not asking anybody to move their business yet, other unions have already begun developing backup plans for their bookings.

Press Conference 11am – Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Speakers:       Robert Demand, President, UNITE HERE Local 40

Irene Lanzinger, President, BC Federation of Labour

Donisa Bernardo, Financial Secretary, Hospital Employees Union

Delia Labrador, Housekeeper, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Sergio Moyer, Front Desk Supervisor, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport industries. Learn more at www.uniteherelocal40.org

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Union Calls to Boycott Nanaimo Golf Club

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

proof of performance 4-Jan-16 X-042S_UniteHere

(Nanaimo, BC) Unite Here Local 40 is calling for a boycott of the Nanaimo Golf Club after two dozen food and beverage workers have been locked out by the Club for over nine months. Local 40 is BC’s Hospitality Workers’ union and represents the locked out workers.  “January is the month that Nanaimo Golf Club Members are renewing their memberships”, explains Shelly Ervin, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 40, “and while many Nanaimo businesses and organizations are respecting our picket line, we are asking golf club members not to renew their membership as well as prospective members to use other local clubs until after a settlement is reached.”

To help raise awareness of this issue, Local 40 and the Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council have partnered to post a billboard on the Island Highway northbound into Nanaimo from
Ladysmith. The message is a short and to the point “Nanaimo Golf Club Doesn’t Think You Care”.  Stephanie Sparkes, one of the locked out workers, explains that “although the Golf Club seems to think that the community doesn’t care about us, our experience is that they care a lot”. She says that throughout the lockout people have been dropping by with food, honking as they drive by, and some local residents have hosted fundraisers to help out financially. “What we are hoping for is that residents of Nanaimo move one step further and start showing the company how much Nanaimo cares about workers and about good jobs, including those in the service sector!” says Sparkes.  Both Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog and Nanaimo MP, Sheila Malcomson have taken the time to meet with workers, hear their concerns directly and show their support by dropping by the picket line. Krog feels that this issue matters to the community. “Nanaimo wants this settled, and binding arbitration is the only sensible course”.

Workers are calling for Nanaimo residents to support the boycott of the Club, and to speak to friends, family and neighbours asking them not to renew their Golf Club memberships, and not to plan events at the club until these locked out members are back at work.

For more information:

Kirsty Peterson, Local 40 Communications

604-619-2934 or [email protected]

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Coast Plaza Members Ratify 3-year Contract