For Immediate Release:
Vancouver area hotels are booming; now it is workers’ turn to recover.
Vancouver, BC — UNITE HERE Local 40 members at Sheraton Vancouver Airport, a popular convention hotel, walked off the job at 7AM this morning and onto the picket line. Sheraton Airport workers – including room attendants, banquet servers, front desk agents, and food service workers – who served on the front lines throughout the pandemic say their wages are not enough to afford to live in Metro Vancouver.
Sheraton Airport workers welcome the world to Vancouver, but they cannot afford to live here; most of the hotel staff earn less than the Metro Vancouver living wage of $24.08 per hour. The hotel’s room rates are selling for as much as $400 a night or more. Room revenues for Vancouver airport hotels increased 32% on average this year over the same period in 2019.
“I’m angry that I’ve worked at this hotel for 6 years, but I’m only making 20 cents over minimum wage. Inflation continues to rise, and we need living wages now so we can provide for ourselves and our families in Metro Vancouver – we deserve to live in the city where we work! Our hotel is always busy and making money, yet we are getting left behind,” said Felisha Perry, banquet server.
In a recent survey of local hotel workers conducted by the union, 46% of respondents have had to forgo fresh food to keep up with the rising cost of living in Metro Vancouver. 89% of hotel workers surveyed said they have had to give something up to afford their cost of living, such as family support or medical care.
A majority of Sheraton Airport workers are women and immigrants. Many struggled during the pandemic to make ends meet and are working more than one job to pay the bills. They are seeking wage increases that are comparable to other high-end convention hotels, banquet gratuity transparency to ensure tips are correctly distributed, and a guarantee that guest rooms will be cleaned daily.
MEDIA: Members of the press are invited to the picket line, which will run every day from 7am to 7pm outside of the hotel at 7551 Westminster Highway in Richmond. Union representatives and striking workers are available for interviews by contacting Sharan Pawa at 604-710-1693 or by email at email@example.com.
UNITE HERE Local 40 represents thousands of hospitality workers across B.C. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.