Statement from Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, regarding BC’s economic recovery plan

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2020

The provincial government’s economic recovery plan offers nothing of substance to protect the jobs of hospitality workers who have been laid off or terminated due to Covid. The takeaway from this plan is that BC’s hospitality workers are on their own.

While we can support economic assistance to hospitality employers, this should have been tied to a legally enforceable guarantee that if a business accepts tax dollars in any form you will return your laid-off staff when business improves.

The province could easily support job security for all of BC’s laid-off hospitality workers by granting workers a legal right of return to their pre-Covid jobs as conditions improve.  We have seen similar measures successfully implemented across the border in San Francisco, Los Angeles County and elsewhere. It would provide some certainty to laid-off workers and, more importantly, would not cost the province a dime.

The province’s offer of jobs to hospitality workers in long-term care is a small gesture, but it leaves 47,000 hospitality workers to fend for themselves with no legal rights to get their jobs back, instead of being replaced as business recovers.

We look forward to learning more about the Tourism Task Force and how the province plans to reconnect laid-off workers to their jobs so that employers do not replace them with new lower wage workers when conditions improve.

Media Contacts:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]; or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

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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.