Support the Waldorf Hotel Workers! Rally at Vancouver City Hall at noon on Tuesday, January 15! Address: West 12th Ave and Cambie.
UNITE HERE Local 40 members at the Coast Hotels in Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna and Prince George have voted 92% to ratify a new 3-year contract that will dramatically improve access to health care benefits for workers and their families.
The settlement was reached on the verge of potential strikes in the Nanaimo and Victoria hotels.
Local 40’s bargaining committee and Coast management reached agreement that effective January 1, 2013, the hours needed for health care eligibility will be lowered from 30 hours/week to an average of 20 hours/week. With this victory, Coast workers now have the best eligibility system in any of Local 40’s contracts.
Other worker goals that were met in this settlement include additional reductions to room attendant workload, improved banquet workers’ rights, establishment of paid sick time, improved pension contributions to include paid time off, a 5% wage increase and improved extended health care benefits so that room attendants can receive much needed physiotherapy.
“These were challenging negotiations but we’re very pleased Coast management has chosen to take the lead in addressing health care eligibility and improving key benefits for their employees. We’re hoping this will set the pattern for hotels around the province,” said Robert Demand, Chief Negotiator for Local 40.
Coast Discovery Inn workers in Campbell River will be voting soon on their own contract settlement which provides for the same improvements in health care eligibility and benefits, improved pension contributions and room attendant workload reductions.
Local 40 is continuing discussions with Coast management about the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver.
Hundreds 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.
On 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.
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.