Amid Vancouver’s affordability crisis, over 1000 workers from Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront could walk off the job this summer
Vancouver, BC – Downtown hospitality workers at the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels have voted in favour of strike action, concerned about job security and the cost of living in Vancouver. The workers – including room attendants, front desk agents, kitchen staff, servers, and bellman represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 – stand resolute against increased precarity in the hotel sector. The strike votes concluded on Monday evening.
The exorbitant cost of living in Vancouver is making it harder for hospitality workers to live in the city to which they welcome tourists. In a recent survey of local hotel workers conducted by the union, 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 procedures. 46% of respondents have had to forgo fresh food to keep up with the rising cost of living in Metro Vancouver. Alongside substantial wage increases, the workers are asking for job security as they face the looming threat of hotel redevelopment to luxury housing.
Meanwhile, business for downtown hotels is booming this summer. Vancouver has the highest hotel occupancy and highest average daily room rates across major Canadian markets. In May, the average room rate in downtown Vancouver was $332 per night, while revenue per available room was up 22.5% over the same period last year, according to CBRE.
“Our hotels are packed this summer and are charging customers more than ever, but we aren’t getting our fair share. We want to earn enough to live in the city where we work. We struggled during the pandemic, while the hotel industry received billions in government help. Now our hotels are doing great, but we’re still left behind. Hospitality workers deserve a future in this city if Vancouver expects to have a vibrant tourism sector,” said Naden Abenes, a Room Attendant at Hyatt Regency for 15 years.
Picket lines could go up at the three hotels after the workers issue strike notice.
Downtown hotel workers including those from Hyatt, Westin and Pinnacle launched a major strike in 2019, winning a new standard in wages and working conditions, including groundbreaking safety and sexual harassment protections in the hospitality industry. UNITE HERE Local 40 also represents hospitality workers currently on strike at Sheraton Vancouver Airport and Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport in Richmond.
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