Press Release: Laid-off Hospitality Demonstrate, Ask Government – Where is Our Right to Return to Work?

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2020

Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356,, or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785,

VANCOUVER – As the province launched Phase 3 of its restart plan, laid-off hospitality workers demonstrated today outside the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.  Hotel workers are urgently calling on the provincial government to protect those on the verge of losing their jobs due to the pandemic.  The Government had to put 50,000 hotel workers out of work, but with no legal right to get their jobs back.  While the B.C. legislature debates temporary layoff rules this week, thousands of the province’s laid-off hotel workers could face permanent job loss if employers use the pandemic as an excuse to replace them.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia workers protested alongside other area hotel workers who stand to lose the right to keep their jobs unless the government takes action.  With reports that the hotel industry may not recover until 2021 or 2022, hotel workers throughout the province want the government to guarantee they will have the right to return to work as the industry recovers.

Unlike the business-backed proposal to extend temporary layoff and delay severance, UNITE HERE Local 40 is urging the province to legislate protection for workers laid-off due to the pandemic so that they cannot be terminated.  The current rules around temporary layoff do not prevent workers from being fired due to the pandemic.  As the hard-hit hospitality sector begins the long road to recovery, workers spoke at a press conference outside the hotel about what they stand to lose.

“Our contribution to B.C.’s hotel industry is significant. I hope the province does not let workers with years of experience go to the wayside.  The provincial government should make sure that hotel workers who have built this industry are guaranteed the right to get our jobs back as the industry recovers,” said James Milling, a doorman who has worked at Rosewood Hotel Georgia for nine years.

UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at