FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
CONTACT: Kirsty Peterson, [email protected], 604-619-2434
Hotel Union and Labor Allies Issue Travel Alert for Hilton Metrotown
Some unions already planning alternate arrangements in case of labour dispute
(Burnaby, BC) Workers from the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown are joining together with leaders from the labour movement Tuesday to announce a travel alert for their hotel. British Columbia’s hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 40 is concerned about the possibility of a lockout and is preparing for the worst at the Hilton. In response, union workers are alerting hotel customers and allies to prepare for the dispute.
“As one of Hilton Metrotown’s largest customers it’s concerning that the hotel is unwilling to agree to a fair contract with their employees,” says Stephanie Smith, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU). “Our senior leadership has determined that in the event of a lockout or other labour dispute, the BCGEU will immediately cease all business with Hilton Metrotown and would have to reevaluate our future dealings with the hotel.”
Local 40 has reached major settlements in all other major upscale union hotels, the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle, Pacific Gateway Hotel, Four Seasons, Rosewood Hotel Georgia and the most recent being the Coast Master agreement that settled last week. The Hilton Vancouver Metrotown is the only hotel that refuses to budge on current contract proposals.
Current proposals leave virtually no room for staff raises. Additionally, Hilton management wants to increase the workload for housekeepers and eliminate severance pay.
“This has been the toughest set of bargaining in all my years at the hotel. Management has proposed concession after concession. That’s why we are taking the difficult step of calling for this Travel Alert,” said Front Desk Supervisor Sergio Moyer, who has worked at the Hilton since its opening in 1999.
As the Hilton Metrotown is Burnaby’s only premium full-service hotel, the risk of a labour dispute is causing some unions and labour-friendly travellers to reconsider their upcoming bookings. This would divert business from Burnaby to other cities such as Vancouver and Richmond. Although the workers and the union are not asking anybody to move their business yet, other unions have already begun developing backup plans for their bookings.
Press Conference 11am – Hilton Vancouver Metrotown
Speakers: Robert Demand, President, UNITE HERE Local 40
Irene Lanzinger, President, BC Federation of Labour
Donisa Bernardo, Financial Secretary, Hospital Employees Union
Delia Labrador, Housekeeper, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown
Sergio Moyer, Front Desk Supervisor, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, and airport industries. Learn more at www.uniteherelocal40.org