PRESS RELEASE: Pan Pacific Vancouver Workers Question Hotel Over Expiring COVID-19 Layoff Extensions: Are You Firing More of Us as Recovery Nears?
Vancouver, BC – Today, laid-off Pan Pacific Vancouver workers held a protest urging the hotel to stop a fourth round of job cuts. Over 200 Pan Pacific laid-off workers remain uncertain about their future at the hotel. The hotel applied for a variance of B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions for only 16 workers, and their 13-week period is nearing a close. The Ministry of Labour has told workers they could soon be at risk of termination. Those affected by the expiring variance are just a few of the more than 200 workers who want to know why the hotel is leaving them in the dark.
After three rounds of mass firings, Pan Pacific applied for a variance to extend BC’s temporary layoff provisions to cover just 16 out of the more than 200 remaining laid off workers. However, laid-off workers have sought answers about their expiring variance and why the hotel chose not to apply on behalf of all its laid-off staff. Instead, the hotel has fired multiple groups of workers, many of whom are women of colour.
For months, the hotel has failed to inform workers or their union, UNITE HERE Local 40, of their current status. The Union sent a letter to Pan Pacific last week requesting information about their plans for remaining workers. Pan Pacific responded today to confirm that they sought variances for only 16 workers.
This comes after Pan Pacific fired approximately 100 long-term laid-off workers, without cause, in the middle of the pandemic. The hotel also urged workers to sign away their full-time status and their severance rights – then fired some of them anyway. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the hotel on behalf of fired workers. Now the future of more than 200 Pan Pacific workers remains uncertain.
Rosario Luft, a public area attendant who has dedicated 27 years serving customers at Pan Pacific Vancouver, is worried she will be fired this week: “I’m a single mom and raised my son on this job. Pan Pacific isn’t telling me anything. So many of my co-workers have been fired already. After all my years of service and hard work, is the hotel planning to fire and replace me too?”
Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, said: “Pan Pacific workers – many of them women who have worked here for nearly 30 years – deserve an answer. Does Pan Pacific plan to fire more workers? We won’t let this hotel get away with treating workers like they are disposable. Thousands of hotel workers – predominantly women – are losing their jobs in this industry. They are demanding hotels commit to bring them back when the industry recovers.”
UNITE HERE Local 40 launched the Unequal Women campaign this month to spotlight hotels, like Pan Pacific Vancouver, who use the pandemic to eliminate jobs. Hotels across the province are refusing to commit to bring back those who clean hotel rooms, cook meals, and serve guests as the industry recovers.
Pan Pacific Vancouver is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group, the world’s largest privately-owned hotel group.
Media Contacts: Stephanie Fung, email@example.com, 604-928-7356; or Michelle Travis, firstname.lastname@example.org, 778-960-9785
UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing workers in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.