Statement from Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, regarding BC’s economic recovery plan

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2020

The provincial government’s economic recovery plan offers nothing of substance to protect the jobs of hospitality workers who have been laid off or terminated due to Covid. The takeaway from this plan is that BC’s hospitality workers are on their own.

While we can support economic assistance to hospitality employers, this should have been tied to a legally enforceable guarantee that if a business accepts tax dollars in any form you will return your laid-off staff when business improves.

The province could easily support job security for all of BC’s laid-off hospitality workers by granting workers a legal right of return to their pre-Covid jobs as conditions improve.  We have seen similar measures successfully implemented across the border in San Francisco, Los Angeles County and elsewhere. It would provide some certainty to laid-off workers and, more importantly, would not cost the province a dime.

The province’s offer of jobs to hospitality workers in long-term care is a small gesture, but it leaves 47,000 hospitality workers to fend for themselves with no legal rights to get their jobs back, instead of being replaced as business recovers.

We look forward to learning more about the Tourism Task Force and how the province plans to reconnect laid-off workers to their jobs so that employers do not replace them with new lower wage workers when conditions improve.

Media Contacts:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]; or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Camp Workers at Civeo in Kitimat Win Historic Improvements in Workload

Great news for Kitimat camp workers! Camp workers at Civeo in Kitimat have won historic improvements in workload. With these changes, we expect Civeo housekeepers on average will clean 5 rooms LESS each day.

Improvements: 

  • 11 checkout LIMIT on a 10 hour shift!
  • LESS rooms for linen change rooms!
  • LESS rooms for more than 3 checkouts!
  • LESS rooms for travel time between rooms!
  • LESS rooms for travelling to additional floors!
  • LESS rooms for extra walkdowns!

“Many of us will now have several less rooms to clean everyday day. That means less stress, less injuries, and better morale,” said Monika Schuster, Housekeeping Shop Steward and Committee member. “I’m proud of our housekeepers, who stood together and won major improvements. When Local 40 members stand strong, we can improve our lives.”

Hotel Workers Win a Pathway to Recall: Laid-off Hotel Workers End “Fast for Our Jobs” Hunger Strike after 22 Days of Struggle Urging the Government to Protect 50,000 Jobs

Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356; or Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

Vancouver, BC — Today, on September 1, 2020, laid-off hotel workers ended their “Fast for Our Jobs” hunger strike in Maple Ridge after winning a pathway to recall rights. The end of the hunger strike follows Labour Minister Harry Bains’ announcement on the report on recall protections, where he stated that any economic recovery package would contain a pledge for employers to offer a right of first refusal to existing employees when work resumes. While Bains’ announcement is a first step toward recall rights for laid-off workers, UNITE HERE Local 40 members will continue to push the hospitality industry to ensure workers are able to return to their pre-Covid jobs.

 

“I’m really proud of all that we did to organize this hunger strike. Hotel workers refused to stay silent and brought this crisis to the forefront. The fact that we came together, first in Victoria and then in Maple Ridge, to fast for 22 days to save 50,000 jobs, that’s an accomplishment. Minister Bains said that he’ll ask employers receiving financial aid to pledge to bring back workers and I look forward to seeing how the government will implement this,” said Naden Abenes, a laid-off room attendant from Hyatt Regency Vancouver who fasted for five days in the hunger strike.

 

The 22-day “Fast for Our Jobs” hunger strike began on August 10th on the lawn of the BC Legislature in Victoria. Last week, hotel workers moved their encampment to Tourism Minister Lisa Beare’s office in Maple Ridge and yesterday demonstrated outside Labour Minister Harry Bains’ office hours before his announcement. 

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Media Advisory: Hunger Strikers to Hold Press Briefing outside Labour Minister Harry Bains’ Surrey Office

For Immediate Release
August 31, 2020 (Updated)

Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356; or Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

Demonstration to follow Comment on End of Extension of Temporary Layoff Provisions

 Vancouver, B.C.— Today, hunger strikers will hold a press briefing at the Surrey office of Labour Minister Harry Bains on Monday to comment on the extension of BC’s temporary layoff provisions.  Fasting hotel workers plan to move their encampment to Surrey and will hold a demonstration following the press briefing to demand that Minister Bains protect tens of thousands of laid-off workers who are at risk of permanently losing their jobs. The province extended the temporary layoff provisions to help businesses delay severance payouts to workers without granting laid-off workers a legal right to eventually return to their jobs. Today marks Day 22 of the “Fast for Our Jobs.”

WHO:  Hotel workers, community allies from across the Lower Mainland.

WHERE:  105-7327 137 Street, Surrey, BC (outside Minister Harry Bains’ office)

WHEN:  Monday, August 31, 11AM

VISUALS:  Fasters and supporters chanting, singing and marching, socially distanced and wearing masks, holding colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns.

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Day 15 of “Fast for Our Jobs” – Hunger Strikers to Move Encampment, Demonstrate Outside Tourism Minister Lisa Beare’s Office to Save 50,000 Hotel Jobs

Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356; or Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

Vancouver, B.C.— Fasting hotel workers and their allies will hold a demonstration outside Tourism Minister Lisa Beare’s office to urge the government to protect 50,000 hotel jobs.  Now entering their third week, hotel workers have been fasting on the lawn of the BC Legislature since August 10th.  They will bring the “Fast for Our Jobs” hunger strike directly to Minister Beare’s Maple Ridge office this Thursday. While the government considers the tourism industry’s request for a $680 million bailout, businesses are firing their long-term, laid-off staff. Hotel workers are urging Minister Beare and the province to protect hotel workers laid-off due to the pandemic.  The fasters will encamp outside Beare’s office beginning August 27 and continue their hunger strike until the government grants workers a legal right to return to their jobs.

WHO:  Hotel workers, community allies from across the Lower Mainland.

WHERE:  20130 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge (outside Minister’s Beare’s constituency office)

WHEN:  Thursday, August 27, 12 p.m.*

VISUALS:  Fasters and supporters chanting, singing and marching, socially distanced and wearing masks, holding colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns.

*Media availability with fasting hotel workers.

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.