For Immediate Release
February 23, 2021
Hard hit by pandemic, unequal women push back against hotel terminations
Vancouver, BC – Hilton Metrotown workers announced today they will be urging prospective hotel guests not to patronize the hotel. They are escalating their job action after the hotel permanently laid off dozens of workers. The hotel has stated plans to eliminate much of the workforce, many of them immigrant women with up to 20 years on the job.
Hilton Metrotown refuses to extend workers’ right to return to their jobs despite the looming rollout of the vaccine and forecasts suggesting the hotel industry could begin to rebound in fall 2021. UNITE HERE Local 40, which represents the workers, is pursing legal avenues to fight the terminations.
The permanent layoffs affect long serving immigrant workers, many of them women disproportionately impacted by the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The “she-cession” hit women first and hardest with greater job losses and underemployment in sectors like hospitality. Women make up the majority of hourly wage workers in the hotel industry.
“For 21 years, I have served guests at Hilton Metrotown. I’m a single mom and raised my son on this job. I’m stressed about my future and worried about my co-workers who are single moms with families to support. Customers would be shocked to hear how we’re being treated during the pandemic. Until Hilton agrees to honour our years of service, we want customers to take their business to other hotels,” said Angelica Hernandez, laid-off banquet server.
“My son was 5 when I started working at Hilton. He’s 19 years old now. I helped support my family with this job. The women I work with here are like a second family. The Hilton has already terminated some of my-coworkers in housekeeping. We’re all scared. We should not lose our jobs because of the pandemic, so we must take action until we get our jobs back,” said Jaswinder Bassi, laid-off room attendant.
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.