Vancouver, BC – Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 held a press conference with Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, BC Teachers Federation President, Teri Mooring, and other labour and community leaders to blast Hilton Metrotown for issuing 72-hour lockout notice this morning and recently terminating almost 100 long-term workers.
Hilton Metrotown could lockout workers as early as Friday, April 9. The lockout threat comes after several union customers, BC Teachers Federation, BCGEU, HEU, MoveUP, and PSAC-BC, announced they will not patronize the hotel until management commits to return workers, most of whom are women and people of colour, to their jobs as business recovers. Workers have been on partial strike since February 2021.
Hilton Metrotown is leading the industry-wide attack on BC’s hotel workers. Mass firings are being used as an extortion tactic to strip away economic security for workers. This prompted hotel workers to launch the “Unequal Women” campaign to draw attention to Hilton Metrotown and other hotels that refuse to commit to bring back their workers as the industry recovers. Many hotels are trying to turn back the clock on working conditions that disproportionately impact women and racialized workers.
In addition to Mayor Hurley and Ms. Mooring, Hilton Metrotown workers were joined by leaders of BCGEU, HEU, ATU, Single Mothers Alliance BC, Metro Vancouver Alliance, and Women Transforming Cities at today’s press conference.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley:
“The backbone of Hilton Metrotown is the staff and the people who have worked to make it a special place. Hilton management needs to get back to the table, deal with the layoff and recall provisions of the contract, extend that until after the pandemic is over, and allow workers the dignity to return to their jobs. They’re long-term employees. They made a difference to this hotel. That’s why I’m here to show my support for all these workers, many of them personal friends, many of them residents of Burnaby.”
BCTF President Teri Mooring:
“It is disheartening that hotels such as Hilton Metrotown are seeking permanent concessions for a temporary situation that we’re in, which is the pandemic. [BCTF] has chosen to withdraw all of our business from the Hilton Metrotown until there is a fairly negotiated collective agreement and restoration of laid-off workers’ jobs and a right to recall has been secured. There should be no pandemic profiteering in this situation. This is not what we expect in BC. We expect all workers to be treated fairly and we call on Hilton Metrotown to do just that.”
Sophea Kong, former Hilton Metrotown Banquet Server, 13 years
“After 13 years, the Hilton Metrotown terminated me last month. The hotel was always like a family to me, so I didn’t see this coming. It’s unfair for the hotel to treat workers like this. I supported and raised my three sons on this job. My co-workers and I gave everything to our hotel over the years. Where is hotel management when we need them? The hotel should do the right thing and commit to bring us back.”
Baljinder Kahlon, former Hilton Senior Housekeeping Supervisor, 21 years
“I was part of the team that welcomed guests when the hotel opened in 1999. I’ve seen Hilton Metrotown go through two renovations and the Olympics. I am one of the many workers terminated last week. After our years of service, this is the kind of treatment we receive? That’s not acceptable. On behalf of all Hilton Metrotown workers, we deserve to return to our jobs when business comes back because we’re the ones who made the hotel successful. In a time like this, Hilton should value their long-term staff by protecting our jobs, not firing us.”
To view today’s recording of the press conference, go to: https://www.facebook.com/129648666837/videos/468755844323502
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.