Richmond, BC – Workers at Sheraton Vancouver Airport (YVR) voted 88% in favour of strike action this weekend. After months of bargaining and mediation efforts, Sheraton YVR workers are considering taking strike action to secure living wages. The workers, including housekeepers, banquet staff, front desk agents, and the hotel’s Starbucks food service workers, are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.
Sheraton YVR workers are demanding the premier convention hotel stop paying low-end wages. The hotel’s wages fall behind competing Vancouver area hotels, with most workers earning less than a living wage. Some of the staff are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. They are seeking wage parity with comparable high-end hotels that pay $5 more per hour so they can afford to live in Richmond and Greater Vancouver.
The hotel is owned by one of the 20 wealthiest families in Canada, the Lalji family, through an affiliate of Larco Hospitality.
“Our hotel is owned by one of Canada’s richest families, but they refuse to pay us fairly for the work we do. I cleaned rooms here for over 25 years and I’m proud of that. I got injured on the job, but I’m still here, contributing to our guests’ experience and helping to make the hotel successful. It feels like Larco doesn’t value the workers here, so I’m ready to strike for the respect and living wage I deserve.” said Ana Wong, a room attendant.
The workers, the majority of whom are women and immigrants, want Larco Hospitality to agree to livable wages for the staff and to adopt the hotel industry standard for banquet gratuity transparency to ensure tips are being correctly distributed.
“I’ve worked at this hotel for 6 years, but I’m also working 1-2 other jobs to get by. I don’t see a future for myself in this city. I want to find my own place, but I can’t with what I earn. I feel stuck, and everyday life is hard when you are struggling to keep up with rising costs for rent, gas, insurance, and groceries. I’m willing to strike because inflation continues to rise, and me and my fellow workers need to do something about it now,” said Felisha Perry, a part-time banquet server.
“I’m sharing my two-bedroom apartment with two roommates so I can afford my rent, but it still takes up most of my pay. I’m only 24 years old, yet I feel hopeless. I can’t save for my future, or even afford a car, and I work full-time. I want to strike because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for me. With what I make, I won’t be able to live in a nice home or raise a family, and that’s not right,” said Shaelyn Arnould, a Starbucks food service worker who has been at the hotel for 5 years.
Picket lines could go up any time after workers issue 72-hour strike notice.
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