Kitimat, BC – On July 22, Sodexo hospitality workers at Cedar Valley Lodge voted 100% in favour to ratify their new collective agreement, securing significant wage gains and averting a strike at the LNG Canada construction site. Workers have bargained a new wage standard for British Columbia camp workers; most Cedar Valley Lodge staff will receive a 30-40% increase in compensation over the 1-year contract. Lodge workers will receive immediate wage increases of $5 per hour, with maintenance staff at the property receiving an immediate 10% pay increase.
Under the new agreement workers have won increases in vacation pay, significant medical benefit improvements, and established a retirement plan as well as workload protections for kitchen, janitor, and housekeeping positions. Lodge staff have also won an unprecedented remote hospitality worker premium. The new contract was reached following mediation with the employer at the BC Labour Board.
“I’m very proud that Cedar Valley Lodge workers have won the contract they needed. I believe this groundbreaking new agreement sends a strong message to camp workers across the province that when workers stand up for themselves, they win! Hospitality workers will not be overlooked or disrespected, and their work should be valued,” said Zailda Chan, UNITE HERE Local 40 President.
Cedar Valley Lodge accommodates up to 5,000 LNG camp workers involved in the pipeline project. The 450 Lodge workers – including housekeepers, kitchen staff, janitors, guest service agents and maintenance staff – unionized with UNITE HERE Local 40 and IBEW Local 993 on April 12. The workers voted 97% in favour of strike action on July 7, concerned with the rising cost of living in British Columbia. Sodexo Cedar Valley Lodge hospitality workers were the lowest compensated workers at the LNG Canada construction site. BC Building Trades members at the site expressed support for the Lodge workers.
“We at Cedar Valley Lodge have been fighting for three long years to be treated fairly. With this amazing contract I feel we have finally won respect, and something that represents us as industry professionals. We won a fair wage increase, improved benefits, but most importantly we are proud to be unionized with Local 40. This victory has changed my life and the lives of my coworkers. We’ve gone from tears of fear to tears of joy!” said Larry Samaroo, a Second Cook who has worked at the Lodge for three years.
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