Press Release: Fired YVR Worker Files Human Rights Complaint Against Airport Operator

Worker Reports Discrimination After Standing Up for a Living Wage

 

Richmond, BC – An airport food worker has filed a human rights complaint against Vancouver Airport (YVR) operator, MGM Food Services, for discrimination. MGM terminated the worker days after she signed a public petition demanding a $25 living wage for all workers at YVR Airport and encouraged co-workers to sign.

MGM Food Services operates two A&W locations at YVR Airport. The worker, Ann John, was employed at the A&W outlet located in YVR’s international terminal for over a year and a half, having only ever receiving positive feedback for her work. Ms. John is a new Canadian working towards her permanent resident status. On April 4, she signed the petition calling for a $25 living wage at YVR. Ms. John was one of the hundreds who signed the petition to YVR CEO Tamara Vrooman asking for a living wage for all airport workers.

According to the complaint, MGM Food Services discouraged their staff from signing the petition because, among other things, they claimed it was “misleading people with false promises.” A few days after Ms. John had signed the petition, an all-employee meeting was held where management asked who had signed. At this meeting they learned Ms. John had signed and had encouraged others to sign. Two weeks later, after arriving for her shift, Ms. John was denied entry and fired. She was told she was “not a good fit for the company.”

“I don’t earn a living wage, and I struggle to make ends meet. I know that my co-workers struggle too. I believed in the cause, and I signed the petition, because better wages could really help myself and the people around me. MGM said I wasn’t a good fit, but in my opinion, the real reason they fired me was that I signed the petition,” said Ann John.

YVR Airport, which recently reclaimed its spot as North America’s number one airport, will be holding its Annual General Meeting tomorrow. The Vancouver Airport Authority is a certified living wage employer – yet over a thousand food service and retail workers at the airport are not covered by this policy.

“We are very concerned about how this non-union employee was treated by an airport operator, and YVR’s lack of interest in protecting workers’ rights”, stated Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “Workers who are included in YVR’s living wage policy are mostly white and mostly men. Workers excluded from the policy are mostly women of colour…and when they stand up for change, they lose their job? Is this really the top airport in North America?”

Ms. John is seeking reinstatement and compensation for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect. UNITE HERE Local 40 demands the Airport Authority ensure Ann is reinstated to her position and takes steps to cut ties with MGM Food Services for its actions.

 

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40.com