Varscona, Metterra and Matrix hotels come under boycott on eve of Edmonton Fringe Festival over failure to resolve BC lockout
Edmonton, AB – Today, UNITE HERE Canada, the Alberta Federation of Labour and other labour and community groups staged a lively demonstration and announced a boycott of the Varscona, Metterra and Matrix hotels. Last month, labour groups issued a boycott deadline of August 8 if the hotels’ owner, DSDL Canada Investments, failed to resolve a four-month lockout of workers at Hilton Vancouver Metrotown. The customer boycott comes as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and major events including the Edmonton Fringe Festival return.
Dozens of protestors kicked-off the demonstration at the Varscona and marched down Whyte Avenue to Metterra Hotel and through Old Strathcona. UNITE HERE Canada and Alberta labour groups are urging residents and all travellers, including attendees of the upcoming Edmonton Fringe Festival, to avoid patronizing the three Edmonton hotels as well as Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, which is already under boycott.
“On behalf of the 170,000 affiliated members of the Alberta Federation of Labour, we stand in solidarity with hotel workers. We will not patronize DSDL’s hotels in Edmonton until they resolve the lockout of Hilton Metrotown workers and agree to call back their long-term staff,” said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
DSDL has taken advantage of the pandemic to eliminate workers and erode decades of economic gains, disproportionately impacting women and immigrant workers. In BC, DSDL-owned Hilton Metrotown fired 97 workers who were laid off during the pandemic and refuses to bring them back as business recovers. The hotel locked out the remaining workers this April; they have been locked out for almost seventeen weeks. In Quebec, DSDL attempted to cheat hotel workers at a fifth hotel, Hotel Pur, from collecting their full severance.
“We thank the Alberta labour movement for supporting locked out workers in BC. DSDL’s poor treatment of workers has consequences. Their refusal to resolve the Hilton Metrotown lockout and to commit to return long-term workers to their jobs is why the boycott of DSDL-owned hotels is growing. As the economy reopens, customers should use hotels which respect their workers rather than take advantage during a pandemic,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, which represents Hilton Metrotown workers in BC.
DSDL Canada Investments is a subsidiary of South Korea-based DSDL Co. DSDL was founded by a prominent and politically connected family whose chairman was convicted and sentenced to prison for embezzlement and illegal financial transactions in South Korea. The chairman, Cho Wuk Rai, was later pardoned by former President Lee Myung-bak, a family relative of Cho’s.
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