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.