Vancouver, BC — Today, on September 1, 2020, laid-off hotel workers ended their “Fast for Our Jobs” hunger strike in Maple Ridge after winning a pathway to recall rights. The end of the hunger strike follows Labour Minister Harry Bains’ announcement on the report on recall protections, where he stated that any economic recovery package would contain a pledge for employers to offer a right of first refusal to existing employees when work resumes. While Bains’ announcement is a first step toward recall rights for laid-off workers, UNITE HERE Local 40 members will continue to push the hospitality industry to ensure workers are able to return to their pre-Covid jobs.
“I’m really proud of all that we did to organize this hunger strike. Hotel workers refused to stay silent and brought this crisis to the forefront. The fact that we came together, first in Victoria and then in Maple Ridge, to fast for 22 days to save 50,000 jobs, that’s an accomplishment. Minister Bains said that he’ll ask employers receiving financial aid to pledge to bring back workers and I look forward to seeing how the government will implement this,” said Naden Abenes, a laid-off room attendant from Hyatt Regency Vancouver who fasted for five days in the hunger strike.
The 22-day “Fast for Our Jobs” hunger strike began on August 10th on the lawn of the BC Legislature in Victoria. Last week, hotel workers moved their encampment to Tourism Minister Lisa Beare’s office in Maple Ridge and yesterday demonstrated outside Labour Minister Harry Bains’ office hours before his announcement.
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 UniteHereLocal40.org.