Vancouver, BC – Today, in a multi-city action, locked out Hilton Metrotown workers and their supporters across the country urged South Korea’s Ambassador to Canada to intervene in the growing dispute with a Seoul-based hotel owner. The workers, who have been locked out for over 100 days, called on South Korea’s Ambassador, Keung Ryong Chang, to engage members of the prominent and politically connected family that owns DSDL Co., the owner of Hilton Metrotown.
Workers and their supporters led actions at South Korean consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and its embassy in Ottawa. They led delegations to meet with consulate and embassy officials, leafletted consulate staff and, in some locations, demonstrated outside the consulate building.
Since the pandemic began, Hilton Metrotown workers have urged the hotel and its owner to return workers to their jobs as business conditions improve. Instead, DSDL-owned Hilton Metrotown fired 97 workers and locked out remaining staff in mid-April this year. DSDL has not shown any willingness to resolve the protracted dispute. DSDL is owned by the Cho family, members of which founded Hyosung, the world’s leading producer of spandex. Their actions have prompted boycotts and widespread support for the workers.
The BC Federation of Labour issued a public boycott of Hilton Metrotown in May, which could cost the hotel up to $3 million in lost business alone. The Alberta Federation of Labour has called for a boycott beginning on August 8 of three DSDL-owned hotels in Edmonton. Last week, unionized workers from a DSDL-owned hotel in Quebec City set up a symbolic picket line to protest Hilton Metrotown’s mistreatment of its employees.
In a letter to the South Korean ambassador this week, UNITE HERE Local 40 President Zailda Chan said: “We are deeply concerned that the crisis at Hilton Metrotown, between working people in British Columbia – many of them racialized women – and members of the South Korean business and political elite, will negatively damage ongoing good faith and trust between communities of the two countries. We’re urging you, Ambassador Chang, to intervene with DSDL to resolve this escalating conflict in Canada.”
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.