For Immediate Release:
VANCOUVER, BC – In a press conference yesterday, Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and downtown hotel workers called for an investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver’s mistreatment of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group called for scrutiny into hotel management’s refusal to recall nearly 100 workers, primarily women of colour, permanently laid-off during the pandemic or the approximately 90 on-call staff who have not worked since March 2020. Instead, the hotel has recently hired dozens of new workers.
Councillor Boyle and UNITE HERE Local 40 members from Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront, and other downtown hotels demanded accountability on behalf of Pan Pacific Vancouver workers. They raised concerns over the hotel’s resistance to bringing back affected staff, particularly during a labour shortage, and whether the hotel’s owner respects workers’ right to have a union.
Councillor Boyle announced she will host a public event in September to hear from affected workers about their experience at Pan Pacific Vancouver.
Pan Pacific Vancouver workers voted to unionize in August 2020 over mass terminations. Since then, workers have faced management’s refusal to return long-term staff to their jobs, unfair labour practices, and delays in bargaining a first contract. A former concierge filed a class action lawsuit against the hotel over wrongful terminations last year; a BC Supreme Court judge has certified the lawsuit as a class action. Separately, the BC Labour Relations Board found that hotel management committed unfair labour practices and violated the Labour Code by refusing to recognize the inclusion of on-call workers in the bargaining unit.
The hotel is owned by Mississauga-based Westmont Hospitality Group, an international owner and operator of hotels.
Christine Boyle, Vancouver City Councillor: “As visitors return to Vancouver, we need to make sure hotel workers’ rights are respected. That’s why I’m standing with hotel workers out of concern for what is happening at Pan Pacific Vancouver. The stories I’ve heard are unconscionable, especially as it impacts low wage workers of colour. There should be an investigation into how workers are being treated at this hotel. I believe strongly that the rights of workers must be upheld in the City of Vancouver.”
Stephanie Dan, former Pan Pacific Vancouver room attendant: “There are so many of us who haven’t been brought back since the pandemic hit. We should be first in line to get our jobs back, but the hotel is hiring other people to do our jobs. I support an investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver because I want justice for me and my-co-workers.”
Naden Abenes, Hyatt Regency room attendant: “What is happening at Pan Pacific? Why won’t they do what other downtown hotels have done and bring back workers who gave years of service to this hotel? Pan Pacific workers deserve what other Vancouver hotel workers have won – to have their jobs back and to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Matt de Marchi, Local 40 representative: “Workers are telling us, ‘They are hiring anybody – people with no hotel experience at all’, rather than bring back the former employees who voted for a union. Management is telling workers that they cannot find any staff, but they will not call back the people who used to work here.”
Contact: Michelle Travis, firstname.lastname@example.org, 778-960-9785