HIR Rally at the Blue Horizon

slide1Hundreds of hotel workers rallied on Robson Street in Vancouver on Friday. HIR workers from the Blue Horizon Hotel, Wedgewood,  Empire Landmark, Chateau Granville and two Holiday Inns were joined by Local 40 members from across the Lower Mainland to send a loud message to Robson Street hotel operators: Stop the Abuse! Fair Contract Now!

We were unable to get HIR management back to the bargaining table during the month of September so HIR workers made a plan of action to take to the streets Friday  afternoon at the Blue Horizon.

The Blue Horizon was chosen because of the daily abuses that Room Attendants are experiencing on the job, and are fighting against in the hotel. A majority of the housekeeping department  presented a petition to the owner of the hotel on September 26.

The next round of HIR negotiations is scheduled for October 24 and 25 at the Empire Landmark Hotel.

Coast Hotel Workers Take Action

doc_81On Thursday, September 20, hundreds of Coast Hotel workers in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria and Prince George took another step in their fight for a fair contract. Workers buttoned up with “Fair Contract” buttons began handing out “Real People Deserve Real Wages and Benefits,” leaflets to hotel customers. The flyers pointed out that Coast had only offered an 8 cent raise to workers in bargaing, a gesture that many Coast workers find offensive. Coast Hotels prides itself on its “Real People” advertising campaign, yet employees struggle to earn family-supporting wages and adequate health care benefits. (pictured at left, Nanaimo hotel workers on leafletting duty)

Lisa Larson, a banquet worker at the Coast Bastion, commented on the 8 cent cent contract offer Thursday during a gathering of several hundred Adrian Dix supporters in the Nanaimo hotel, “at a time when the federal goverment is doing away with the penny, Coast Hotels is embracing it.” Larson also told the gathering about the Coast workers struggle for fair health care, “I’ve worked at Coast Hotels for 24 years and I’ve had health care coverage for only 12 of those years.”

In an addition to fair wages, Coast workers are fighting for equality of health care eligibility. Currently, workers in Victoria, Nanaimo, Prince George and Kelowna have a health care plan that is inferior to the plan at Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver. “Just because we don’t live in Vancouver doesn’t mean we’re second class citizens. “We work just as hard as Vancovuer workers, with the same dedication to Coast Hotels. We deserve a fair contract.”

UPDATE: October 5, 2012

Bargaining took place on October 3 and 4 in Nanaimo. Here is management’s latest proposal:

NO to enough money to maintain current health care benefits
NO to enough money to make any real improvement to hours of eligibility
NO to enough money to make any real improvements to extended health benefits, dental and vision
NO to any reduction in housekeeping workload
NO to sick days
NO to fair banquet pool shares by reducing casual shares and management pays, from their share, any grats to managers or sales staff
NO to guaranteeing that working supervisors will not be used to discipline or schedule other union members
NO to a retroactive wage increase and only a 65 cent wage increase over 3 years
3 cents more on their pension proposal

The Union has requested a meeting with a mediator, but we still believe that management needs to respond to the clear demands of the majority of Bastion, Capri, Harbourside and Inn of the North workers. The Union will be meeting with the Committee in each city to discuss next steps in winning the contract all Coast workers and their families need and deserve.

Coast Bargaining Update

On September 6, the Coast committee and their co-workers delivered a petition calling for a fair contract to the Coast general managers. Over 85% of workers in Prince George, Kelowna, Nanaimo and Victoria signed the petition.

On September 10 and 11, the Union Bargaining Committee met with Coast management in Kelowna. Management made the following first economic proposal:

Wages: 2% increase over 3 years

Health Care: insufficient money to improve or maintain benefits

Pension: 9 cents over 3 years

Lowering hours for eligibility: NO

Sick Days: NO

Housekeeping Workload Reduction: NO

To keep moving forward, the Union gave Coast two comprehensive contract proposals, but Coast refused to make a second move at the bargaining table. The bargaining committee then demanded a full written economic and language proposal from Coast management. The next move is now up to Coast.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume October 3 and 4 in Nanaimo.

Coast and HIR Hotel Negotiations Underway

Nanaimo, BC – Negotiations for a new Union contract for Coast workers in Prince George (Coast Inn of the North), Kelowna (Coast Capri), Victoria (Coast Harbourside) and Nanaimo (Coast Bastion) have begun.

Our Bargaining Committee is pushing a bold economic proposal to increase wages, strengthen the pension, and establish sick days, but the Committee’s top priority is to improve health care. We are focusing on lowering eligibility hours so workers and their families will have access to coverage year around and on increasing the outdated benefit levels so workers can afford to go to a physiotherapist or a dentist.

The next round of bargaining is now scheduled for August 9th and 10th in Victoria at the Coast Harbourside Hotel.

Negotiations are also underway at Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver where the Union and management have made progress on workplace issues, especially with Room Attendant workload, but have not reached an agreement due to the Company’s economic proposal.

COMING SOON – HIR NEGOTIATIONS: Provincial bargaining with the more than 50 hotels in Victoria, Harrison, Vancouver, New Westminster, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Kamloops, Prince George, Fort St. John, Mackenzie, Terrace, Prince Rupert and other communities will begin on July 17th, 5PM at Empire Landmark Hotel. These hotels are all represented by Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR). Stay tuned for more updates.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia workers win first-time union contract!

Rosewood Hotel Georgia workers ratified their new, first-time union contract by a vote of 97% yesterday. The Hotel Georgia workers achieved the downtown Vancouver contract standard–and more! Joining their co-workers at the Westin Bayshore, Four Seasons, Renaissance and Hyatt Regency, Hotel Georgia members built a strong committee, organized and successfully fought to achieve secure, family-supporting jobs.

Welcome to our new Local 40 members!

Hilton Metrotown workers ratify new contract!

slide7On November 14, 2011, UNITE HERE Local 40 members ratified a new union contract with the Hilton Metrotown Hotel by 89%. The new contract includes historic housekeeping workload relief language–the best in Canada–as well as key improvements to banquet workers’ compensation, pension contributions and wage increases for all Hilton workers.

The Hilton agreement achieves a new standard for hotel contracts in the Metro Vancouver area.

UNITE HERE’s housekeeping workload goals are always to make this work safer and more sustainable. The Hilton room attendants are now leading the way in this effort. Their new contract improvements include better access to supplies and equipment, a reduction in the number of floors housekeepers must travel daily, the strengthening of fair of assignment of work and no new duties assigned to room attendants without the Union’s consent.

Banquet department improvements include an increase in service charges and better transparency of banquet gratuities.

Additional hotel-wide contract improvements include a reduction in the number of hours required for health care coverage, pension contribution increases and significant wage increases.

The new contract was achieved through the hard work, organization and militancy of the Hilton Metrotown rank and file commitee leaders and their co-workers. The housekeeping and banquet departments were able to raise the bar for contract language in their areas by a high level of organization and mobilization of their co-workers.

On the way to achieving their historic contract, Hilton workers from all departments rallied at the hotel, delegated management, signed petitions, wore buttons and voted to strike by 92%

Hilton Metrotown workers received key support during their contract campaign from many loyal customers at the Hilton, including labour unions, progressive poltical leaders and community organizations. We encourage everyone to patronize the Hilton Metrotown.

Congratulations, Hilton Metrotown workers!

SFU food service workers ratify new contract by 100%

slide2Compass/Chartwells food service workers at Simon Fraser University made great gains today in ratifying a new union contract.  Demonstrating overwhelming support, Chartwells workers voted to ratify the new contract by 100%. In a strong show of interest, more than 80% of the total Chartwells workforce throughout the SFU campus turned out for the vote. The new contract includes solid wage gains, 100% health and dental coverage and new union rights. Chartwells food service workers at SFU work in outlets throughout the university including Tim Hortons, White Spot, Residents Dining Hall, Mackenzie Cafeteria, the DAC and C-Store. Chartwells is a division of food service contractor, Compass.

The Simon Fraser University administration is currently reviewing its contract with Compass and may be looking for a new food service contractor. UNITE HERE Local 40 union members are demanding that SFU guarantee their jobs in the event of a contractor change.

SFU, Respect Our Jobs!

doc_67More than 100 food service workers on the Simon Fraser University campus, employed by Chartwells, are at risk of losing their jobs in the next year. Many of these workers are long-time members of the SFU community. Some have worked on campus for 15 or 20 years–or more! They work in Tim Hortons, White Spot, Mackenzie Cafeteria, Residents Dining Hall, the DAC and C-Store. The average wage of a Chartwells worker is $14/hour. All of the Chartwells workers count on these jobs to support themselves and their families. They can’t afford to lose their jobs if SFU changes food service contractors.

Eileen Leung (photo at right), a 19-year cook in Mackenzie Cafe, explains why her job is important to her and her family:

“I have 4 children. My husband died when the youngest was 4 years old. My youngest is now 26. I raised my kids by myself while working at SFU. I started working weekends and nights, but now because of seniority, I work days and get to be with my family on weekends. If SFU changes the food service contractor, we need to make sure we get re-hired, keep our jobs, keep our wages.”

There are many more Chartwells workers–the majority women–who’ve made great sacrifices to support their families while working at SFU.

Yorene Yu, a cook for 19 years, working in White Spot, says:

“I came to Canada from Shanghai in 1985. I have a degree in history and worked in a historical museum in China. I like the students at SFU. I like working in the SFU environment. I’m also supporting my two kids at university. One goes to SFU, one goes to Capilano. I need job security to support my family.”

HMS Host food service workers at Vancouver Airport ratify new contract!

slide4Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Host union members ratified a new three-year agreement which merges two separate contracts into one agreement. The new contract includes wage increases, stronger seniority and working hours language, and real coveted job security for the 200-plus airport concessions, retail and warehouse workers. A strong union committee in in sync with both local and international union coordination paved a way to a historic contract.

Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel workers ratify new contract by 96%, make big gains!

doc_51Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel workers won big improvements to their contract today, ratifying an agreement that achieves the new Vancouver hotel contract standard. Housekeeping workload relief, significant pension contribution increases, protected medical benefits, wage increases, improved union rights and more are part of the new contract.

Housekeeping workload improvements include more room drops for double-doubles and check-outs.

Better leave-of-absence language in the new contract makes it easier for Delta hotel workers to participate in organizer trainings as Local 40 focuses on new organizing.

Delta workers also won the ability to lower the numbers of hours worked to qualify for medical benefits.

Downtown Vancouver hotel workers led the fight for a new contract standard in full-service hotels. After a year of action, including demonstrations, rallies, delegations and a boycott at the Hyatt Regency, Local 40 members won a new contract that is charting a path for other hotel workers in the Vancouver Metro area.

Hilton Metrotown bargaining is up next. Stay tuned for updates.