$1.25/hour Wage Increase in 6 Months
On July 1st, 1200 employees at 4 downtown Vancouver hotels will receive the second of two wage increases applied in the past 6 months. The total increase of $1.25/hour represents a record raise over this time span for hotel workers in Vancouver. The 1200 workers are employed by the Four Seasons, Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency and Pinnacle Hotels.
“Everyone who works in Metro Vancouver has the right to a living wage,” said Robert Demand, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “At a time when so many people are struggling with the high cost of living, we are really proud to be moving wages in the right direction – not only for our members, but for all tourism workers in the city. Hotel and other service workers are the backbone of the tourism industry and the whole city will benefit from a strong, stable and adequately compensated workforce.”
Transit Pass Discount
The record wage increases coincide with the introduction of a 15% transit pass discount, which began this spring for employees at 8 Vancouver hotels. The transit pass discount was the result of a campaign launched by Local 40 in 2014, aimed at winning a substantial transit discount for all tourism workers in Vancouver.
“Reducing transit costs is a key part of controlling the cost of living for tourism workers,” said Robert Demand. “As the cost of living in Vancouver continues to rise, tourism workers have to live farther and farther away from where they work. Discounting the transit pass will help tourism workers get to work at a price they can afford, while encouraging increased use of the most environmentally friendly transportation option.”
Local 40 is continuing the campaign for an increased transit discount for tourism workers. On July 9th, the union will be mobilizing union and non-union workers across the city to call on Vancouver City Council to support the hotel workers’ campaign, and provide funding to help expand the transit discount program.
Vancouver’s Tourism Industry
The tourism industry is one of Vancouver’s most important economic sectors, employing over 66,000 people and generating $6.1 billion dollars for Greater Vancouver. The continued health of the tourism sector and the local economy will depend on creating high quality jobs to attract and retain a skilled, experienced and dedicated workforce.
“I have worked as a room attendant for 25 years and proudly welcome guests from all over the world, ” said Noy Paguio, a room attendant at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. “We have to improve standards to be able to afford to live and work here. Wage increases like the one we just received, and the transit pass discount will help make that possible.”