Customer boycott in effect as hotel reopens
Vancouver, B.C. – B.C.’s hospitality workers union is alerting travellers and meeting group customers that a boycott of Pacific Gateway Hotel is in effect. The federal government, which was using the hotel as a quarantine facility, pulled out of Pacific Gateway in January citing concerns over the hotel’s treatment of workers. Workers went on strike after the hotel terminated 143 long-term staff during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pacific Gateway is reopening to the public after months of serving as a designated quarantine site housing travellers potentially exposed to COVID-19. PHAC relocated to another Richmond area hotel this month and said in a statement, “we have expressed our disappointment with Pacific Gateway and their treatment of their unionized workforce throughout these challenging times.” Workers had urged PHAC, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and his predecessor Minister Patty Hajdu, to move out of the hotel.
The 380-room hotel terminated the vast majority of its staff during the pandemic, including most of its housekeeping staff. Despite the workers’ long tenure – some with 20, 30, even 40 years of service – management has refused to return them to their jobs as regular business operations resume. A terminated room attendant filed a human rights complaint on behalf of 89 women fired by the hotel over the disparate impact of terminations on women of colour.
“During the height of the pandemic, the owner of Pacific Gateway fired 90% of our housekeeping staff. Who is cleaning the hotel now? They threw our experienced staff away like garbage. We ask future hotel guests to respect our picket line and please stay somewhere else,” said Pardeep Thandi, a long-term hotel housekeeper.
Workers went on strike in May 2021 and have remained on the picket line for nine months. The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a boycott calling on affiliated unions and the broader public to book at alternative venues. The Canadian Labour Congress, representing over three million workers across Canada, also endorsed the boycott.
Pacific Gateway is co-owned by PHI Hotel Group and an offshore Bahamas-based investor.