Immigrant women ask Prime Minister Trudeau, “Will you be crossing our picket line?”
Vancouver – Workers from the Pacific Gateway Hotel, currently a federal quarantine site, have voted 91% in favour of strike action. The workers voted to strike after the hotel followed through on its threat to terminate laid-off workers, including women with up to 19 years of service at the hotel. Pacific Gateway refuses to recall their staff when business recovers. The hotel has indicated plans to terminate the majority of its workers by the end of March.
Picket lines could go up any time after workers issue 72-hour strike notice. The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.
Pacific Gateway’s actions will hit women of colour the hardest. Future job losses will disproportionately impact older immigrant women from the South Asian, Chinese, and Filipino communities who have served the hotel for decades.
Despite efforts to engage the Liberal government and hotel management, workers have been displaced since the government brought in the Red Cross to replace them and perform similar job duties. Now, the hotel plans to terminate them.
The Liberal Government has acknowledged that women and racialized Canadians have borne the brunt of the pandemic. Yet, the federal quarantine hotel’s actions are destroying the livelihoods of Canada’s most vulnerable workers. Women at Pacific Gateway are not allowing this to happen without a fight to save their hotel jobs.
“I’m a single mom with two kids ages 12 and 13. I need my job. The government should be protecting our jobs so we can return when business comes back. If Pacific Gateway gets away with firing us, other hotels will follow suit. That’s why we are going to fight back; we can’t let this happen. Will Justin Trudeau do the same? Or will he be crossing our picket line when we strike?” said Elisa Cardona, laid-off hostess who has worked at Pacific Gateway for 7 years.
“Women at this hotel are on the verge of losing everything they worked so hard for when they immigrated to Canada. Will Prime Minister Trudeau allow this to happen? We cannot allow hotels like Pacific Gateway to roll back the clock on women’s economic livelihoods. When the picket line goes up, we expect the Prime Minister to join us in saying ‘No’ to unequal women in the hotel industry,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.
UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service, construction camps, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.