Four major hotels in downtown Vancouver–the Hyatt, Four Seasons, Westin Bayshore & Pinnacle hotels – have now agreed to new safety measures to protect their staff from sexual harassment faced on the job. These hotels are the first hotels in Vancouver to agree to:
1. Panic Buttons – Providing staff with panic button security devices.
2. Guest Ban – Banning guests that have sexually harassed an employee.
3. Whistleblower Protection – No retaliation against employees who come forward.
These protections are a new standard in the hospitality industry; UNITE HERE Local 40 will continue to push for these measures to be implemented across hotels in B.C.
The Hotel Georgia has not agreed to this new standard of protection against sexual harassment.
For more information please contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected]
VANCOUVER – A new survey of hotel workers at five major downtown hotels reveals that more women workers at Hotel Georgia report experiencing sexual harassment – guests showing sexual texts or pictures, making unwelcome sexual jokes, comments or asking sexual questions, and guests attempting to touch workers – than the female staff of any of the other surveyed hotels. 56% of surveyed women working at Hotel Georgia report having experienced unwanted physical touching from guests. These survey results display a disturbing lack of response from management to sexualised mistreatment of their female employees. On August 7, workers at the Hotel Georgia overwhelmingly voted in a favour of authorizing a strike action, ready to walk off the job over safety concerns amongst other serious workplace issues faced by staff at the five-star hotel.
In July, hospitality workers at the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle, Four Seasons and Hotel Georgia were surveyed about their experience with sexual harassment. According to the results compiled in the report, Hotel Georgia had the highest proportion of surveyed workers who had been made to feel uncomfortable by guest behaviour (73%), followed by the Westin Bayshore (55%) and the Hyatt (52%). The Hotel Georgia also had the highest proportion of surveyed workers who reported that a guest has touched or tried to touch them in an unwelcome way (56%). Despite high levels of sexual harassment, 69% of workers across the five hotels had not received any sexual harassment training from management.
Earlier this month, certain female employees at the Hotel Georgia filed a human rights complaint against the hotel for gender discrimination, an overly-sexualized work environment and failure to respond appropriately to incidents of harassment or assault in the workplace. The survey report validates the need for urgent change in Vancouver’s hotel industry to ensure women are safe on the job. UNITE HERE is calling for measures such as: panic buttons, a hotel ban of guests that commit sexual harassment, whistleblower protection for those who come forward to report incidents and special safety representatives to investigate harassment, discrimination and safety issues in the hotel.
The threat of strike looms as staff at the Hotel Georgia have given their 72 hour strike notice. Frustrated with working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard, workers are prepared to take action. Sexual assault is the only crime in Vancouver on the rise, having increased 16% since 2016.
UNITE HERE Local 40 represents workers throughout B.C. who work in hotels, food service and airports. Local 40 is part of the UNITE HERE International Union, representing over 300,000 workers across Canada and the U.S.
For a copy of the report “Is the Guest Always Right?” please contact Sharan Pawa at [email protected]
Amid the booming tourist season, this week hotel workers from Hyatt, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle voted 89% in favour of taking strike action, while Hotel Georgia workers voted 84% yes for a strike mandate on August 7. In response, the Hotel Georgia issued a lockout notice effective Thursday, August 22. A lockout would be unprecedented at Canada’s #1 hotel and comes on the heels of a human rights complaint filed against the hotel earlier this month; certain female staff who filed the complaint are seeking protection for workers from sexual harassment and assault by hotel guests.
One Job Should Be Enough! Is the demand of 1500 hotel workers and their families.
While Vancouver’s hospitality industry enjoys record profits, the hotels have failed to bargain a contract for staff with livable wages and enough hours to create jobs that can sustain a family in Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam or Surrey. Safety is also a top concern as heavy workloads commonly cause injuries to workers, and several women have recently come forward about sexual harassment and assault faced on the job. Workers at the hotels, most of whom have been without a new contract for over a year, are frustrated with their current working conditions and are prepared to act to achieve changes for a better life.
For more information, please contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected].
On August 7, an overwhelming majority of Hotel Georgia employees including room attendants, front desk agents, servers and cooks at the high-end Vancouver hotel, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. The Hotel Georgia, rated Canada’s top hotel by U.S. News & World Report, holds itself to the highest hospitality standards, while failing to address serious workplace issues faced by staff. Frustrated with working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard, employees are prepared to take action for better hospitality jobs.
“We are industry-leading in service and quality. We want to be an industry leader in job satisfaction and safety,” stated James Sugden, a cook at the Hotel Georgia.
Hotel Georgia workers want industry-setting wages and job standards commensurate to the elevated level of service they are expected to provide on a day-to-day basis to the hotel’s wealthy and well-known clientele. Workers are also seeking better protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, as several women have recently come forward with sexual harassment complaints. Some employees report the need to work second or third jobs to make ends meet and the need for expanded access to medical benefits. Other issues include the lack of supplies needed to perform their work and disrespectful treatment by management.