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lowering eligibility hours so workers and their families will have access to coverage year around and on increasing the outdated benefit levels so workers can afford to go to a physiotherapist or a dentist.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.

Historic Hotel Georgia set to re-open

After more than a 4-year shut down, the historic Hotel Georgia is scheduled to re-open in early May and UNITE HERE! Local 40 is working hard to return long-time Union members to the hotel.

If you worked at the Hotel Georgia prior to the shut down and wish to return to the hotel–which will be operated by Rosewood Hotels and will require training to meet their very demanding level of guest service–you must first meet the following eligibility requirements and then notify the Union in writing by March 9, 2011 that you wish to return.

To be eligible for recall to the hotel you must meet 3 conditions:

(a)    You were actively employed at the Hotel Georgia through December 31, 2006;

(b)    You accepted a layoff from the hotel on January 1, 2007 and did not accept severance pay

If your answer was “Yes” to (a) & (b) and you wish to return to the new Hotel Georgia, you must notify the Union in writing by no later than March 9, 2011.

To notify the Union of your desire to be recalled to work, please provide Local 40 with your name, previous job classification, home address, email address and phone number.  You can fax this information to the Union at (604) 291-2676 or contact Jim Pearson at (604) 473-4830

Coast Discovery Inn settles contract

Local 40 members at the Coast Discovery Inn in Campbell River have a new contract that achieves UNITE HERE’s provincial hotel standard.

The new Discovery Inn contract increases funding for the pension, improves dental, vision and prescription benefits, increases wages and protects gratuities for banquet workers. Housekeepers will also see a reduction in workload.

Thank you to the BC Teachers Federation, USW, CAW, Firefighters and Courtney/Campbell River Labour Council for supporting us during the contract campaign.

Congratulations to Local 40 members at the Discovery Inn!

Westin’s “Green Choice” is Bad for the Environment, Bad for Workers

Green or Greed?

The Westin Bayshore Hotel recently instituted the “Make a Green Choice” program, encouraging guests to refuse housekeeping services by rewarding them with a $5 coupon for each day they refuse service.

Westin Bayshore says this is “green.” Westin Bayshore housekeepers say its “greed.”

Real Green or Fake Green?

“After 3 or 4 days of no service, we find mounds of dirty linens, towels, filthy bathrooms, garbage and spoiled food left behind in the rooms which require almost an hour to clean. But we have limited time. We end up using more chemicals, more water, more energy. We’re not saving anything at all for the environment.”  –Noy Paguio, Room Attendant, Westin Bayshore

Dirtier rooms? More time needed to clean? More chemicals used? What’s green about that?

“Green Choice” is Bad for the Environment

“Green Choice” is misleading. Many hotel guests who are genuinely concerned about the environment would likely go to another hotel if they knew the truth about “Green Choice.”

“Green Choice” is unverifiable. When asked by The Province about “Green Choice” in July, the Westin Bayshore was unable to provide any data about the program’s energy savings at the Bayshore (“Vancouver hotel’s ‘Green’ program takes toll on housekeeping staff,” The Province, 7/4/10).

“Green Choice” Hurts Women

“A real green program helps the environment and doesn’t hurt people. Westin had a program so guests could choose not to have linens and towels changed. This program saved more water and energy than “Green Choice” and didn’t hurt us.”    —Pamela Moroni, Room Attendant, Westin Bayshore

The more guests use the “Green Choice” coupon on a given day, the more housekeepers are cut from that day’s work schedule. For every 15 “Green Choice” cards used by guests, one room attendant is told not to report to work–even though she was already on the schedule.

Dirtier rooms left by guests who refuse housekeeping services, create heavier workloads for housekeepers.  And as housekeepers lose control of their schedules, physical and economic stress increases.

Westin Makes a Mockery of Green Initiatives

Westin Bayshore is using the “green” label to cut jobs, hurting immigrant working women who comprise the overwhelming majority of hotel housekeepers in Vancouver. At the same time, Westin is misleading guests about the benefits of “Green Choice.” Its time to stop the nonsense.

Its Time to Stop “Green Choice!”