Coquitlam, B.C.— Today, striking Pacific Gateway hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, held a demonstration outside MP Ron McKinnon’s office to urge him to protect their jobs. Ron McKinnon is the MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam and Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, which Pacific Gateway workers testified in front of recently. The federal government’s inaction over the Richmond hotel’s mass firings has exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on women, making their lives more insecure and unequal during COVID. Pacific Gateway, one of the first quarantine hotels set up in Canada when COVID-19 hit, has terminated 74% of its female employees since February 2021 instead of calling workers back to their jobs as business resumes. The government has extended its contract at Pacific Gateway through December 31st.
Kiran Dhillon, a fired Pacific Gateway room attendant of 17 years: “We need MP Ron McKinnon to step up and put pressure on Justin Trudeau to act! How much longer is our Prime Minister going to continue to cross our picket line while we struggle to put food on the table and care for our children? I have two kids and it’s been stressful getting by day to day. I need my job to provide for my children’s futures. 90% of my housekeeping department were fired just because of the pandemic. If this what our national leader calls a feminist recovery? This is unacceptable!”
A human rights complaint over sex and racial discrimination was filed against the hotel last month alleging women, particularly racialized women, have been disproportionately targeted for terminations while men’s jobs were more likely to be protected.
Pacific Gateway workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, went on strike on May 3, 2021 over mass firings and drastic economic rollbacks. Workers have asked to return to their jobs after the federal quarantine ends and when the work becomes available again. The hotel has refused.
For additional information, please contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]
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.