Workers Win Third Legal Victory this Month Against Hotel
Vancouver, BC — In two separate decisions, the BC Labour Relations Board ruled that the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel violated the BC Labour Relations Code three times: by changing terms and conditions of employment without negotiating with UNITE HERE Local 40, by refusing to recognize the inclusion of on-call workers in the unionized workforce, and by refusing to disclose important bargaining information to the union. Pan Pacific workers were certified as members of UNITE HERE Local 40 in February 2021.
Last year, prior to unionization, the Pan Pacific sent laid-off workers separate employment agreements to sign. One group was asked to be available 24 hours a week; the second group was offered $250 to sign a contract taking away their regular full-time status to become casual staff. In a ruling made on December 15, the Labour Board found that Pan Pacific breached Section 45(1)(b) of the Code when the hotel later sent new letters to these workers changing their terms and conditions of employment. In August 2021, the hotel sent letters to the 24-hour group, telling them they needed to be available for more than 24 hours, and in September 2021, the hotel sent letters to casual workers requiring unrestricted availability.
The Board ordered the hotel to rescind the “offending communications” and make a declaration that the employer breached Section 45 of the Labour Code, that any changes to the terms and conditions of employment of any employee are null and void, and ordering that the Employer provide a copy of this decision to all employees who received the letters.
In a separate decision issued this month, the Board ruled that Pan Pacific Vancuver committed another code violation by refusing to share contact information with Local 40, along with excluding the on-call employees from the bargaining unit entirely. Pan Pacific must now send UNITE HERE Local 40 all employee telephone numbers and contact information for all of the on call employees. The hotel also cannot refuse to negotiate contract terms for on-call employees.
“The Labour Board’s decisions are a double victory for Pan Pacific Vancouver workers who have every right to be included in our union and engage in collective bargaining. These legal victories also demonstrate the hotel’s treatment of workers during the pandemic violated basic labour rights,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “Pan Pacific workers deserve much more from their employer, including recall rights, wages that match other downtown hotels in this city, fairer workloads, and scheduling by seniority, to name a few.”
Pan Pacific workers are currently negotiating their first collective agreement. The Labour Board rulings come on the heels of a decision issued on December 10, 2021, by a BC Supreme Court judge to allow a lawsuit over wrongful termination filed by a former employee to proceed as a class action.
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.