Media Advisory: Happy Thanksgiving! No Thanks to Marriott, Strikers to Mobilize at Marriott, Demanding Equal Pay to American Workers

What: Hotel Striker Demonstrations at Marriott

When: Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 5pm

Where: JW Marriott Parq Vancouver hotel, 39 Smithe Street, Vancouver

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike, including hotel room attendants, cooks, front desk workers, and bellmen.

Note: Frontline UNITE HERE Local 40 strikers on strike now for job security, a safe workplace, and wages that make one job enough to live in Vancouver will be available for interview in person at the action or in advance by phone. To connect with strikers or union leadership in advance or at the action, contact Sharan. 

WHY: U.S.-based Marriott Corporation is the largest hotel company in the world. Marriott made over $2.8 billion in Canada alone last year. While Marriott gets richer, workers at their hotels like the Westin Bayshore are overworked to the risk of injury, can lose their jobs if the owner decides to close and reopen a new restaurant, and are being offered about half of what U.S. Marriott workers are getting.

We don’t need big U.S. corporations treating Canadians like they’re worth less! As the strike reaches the third week and Thanksgiving approaches, strikers will confront Marriott on Thursday, demanding that Canadian workers receive equity to all North American standards.

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

BCGEU supports historic Unite Here Local 40 strike with $3 million loan

Media Release—For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

VANCOUVER—Today Stephanie Smith, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), and a group of BCGEU members, joined Unite Here Local 40 members on the picket line at the Westin Bayshore to announce that the BCGEU—one of BC’s largest and fastest growing unions—is supporting the strike with a $3 million interest-free loan.

In September more than 1,200 Unite Here Local 40 members initiated the first strike at downtown Vancouver hotels in two decades. Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action after 14 months of bargaining with the Hyatt Regency, the Westin Bayshore and the Pinnacle Harbourfront and eight months of bargaining with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia failed to result in collective agreements that would address workplace safety, job security and fair compensation for hotel workers.

Since the beginning of the strike Unite Here Local 40’s high energy, high visibility picket lines have attracted support from the general public, attention from the media and complaints from hotel management about the noise and disruption caused by striking members. But the union’s contract demands remain unmet and their fight for a better future for all hotel workers continues.

With almost 80,000 members, the BCGEU is one of the largest and fastest growing unions in the province. The BCGEU’s provincial executive—which is the union’s governing body between policy conventions—voted unanimously in favour of making an interest-free loan in the amount of $3 million available for Unite Here Local 40 to access to support the hotel strike.

Quotes:

Stephanie Smith, President, BCGEU

“Strikes are powerful tools—they disrupt employers’ operations, they get the public engaged in workers’ rights and they build solidarity—but they cost money. This loan will help make sure that Unite Here Local 40 members can afford to stay out on strike as long as it takes to achieve collective agreements that give them the safety, stability and fair compensation they deserve.”

“The BCGEU, like other unions, has supported this strike from the beginning by joining the picket lines and by cancelling bookings and refusing to attend events at these four hotels. I’m proud to be here on behalf of 80,000 members of the BCGEU as the first union to offer financial support to Unite Here Local 40 as their fight for a better future continues. I know we won’t be the last.”

Zailda Chan, President, UNITE HERE Local 40

“We are overwhelmed by the level of support BCGEU is extending to our 1,200 striking hotel members.  This will send a strong message to the real estate developers and U.S. corporations who own and operate the hotels our members work for in this city.  We are determined to make change in the hospitality industry, and BCGEU’s support will only redouble our fight to improve the lives of Vancouver’s hotel workers.” 

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Contact:

Danielle Marchand, BCGEU

Cell: 778-968-4509

 

Sharan Pawa, Unite Here Local 40

Cell: 604-725-0053

 

 

 

 

 

Media Advisory: Rosewood Hotel Georgia Strikers to Hold Major Action at Hotel one Week After Management Stormed Out of Negotiations

What: Hotel Georgia Striker Action

When: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 5pm

Where: Meet at the Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at Rosewood’s Hotel Georgia, including hotel room attendants, cooks, front desk workers, and bellmen.

Note: Frontline UNITE HERE Local 40 strikers on strike now for job security, a safe workplace, and wages that make one job enough to live in Vancouver will be available for interview in person at the action or in advance by phone. To connect with strikers in advance or at the action, contact Sharan.

WHY: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, stormed out of negotiations last week; the Hotel has no sense of shame when it comes to the treatment of Vancouver’s hotel workers, a majority of whom are women, standing up against unsafe, unfair and disrespectful working conditions at the five-star hotel. With 1,200 Vancouver hotel workers now on strike for a better future, it’s time for Hotel Georgia to give their dedicated workers the five star contract they deserve.

In Vancouver, the single most profitable hotel market in the country, it’s time for the industry to treat workers with respect – ensuring safe workplaces free from injury and harassment, providing job security for families, and paying wages that are enough to live in our city! Whose city is this – real estate investors or ours?

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Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Press Release: Pacific Reach Properties’ Sexual Harassment Scandal Deepens as Two More Complaints Are Filed Against Hotel Owner Already Under Scrutiny for Widespread Sexual Harassment Practices at Hotel Georgia

Vancouver – Two new sexual harassment complaints have been filed against a Pacific Reach Properties hotel, the hotel owner already under media scrutiny for sexual harassment at a second downtown Vancouver hotel they own, Hotel Georgia. Hotel Georgia workers recently walked out on strike, in part over Pacific Reach Properties’ egregiously dangerous working conditions for women which put them at risk for injury and assault.

The two new sexual harassment complaints are from a current and former employee of Pacific Reach Properties owned Belmont Hotel, a sister hotel to the Hotel Georgia where workers walked out in a historic strike just days ago after management failed to sign a contract providing workers sexual harassment protections. In the latest complaints, available to reporters upon request, a clear portrait of a culture of severe sexual harassment of workers is depicted. Workers detail experiences of harassment and assault including management directing employees to flirt with male guests, managers refusing to take action to remove guests who sexually harass and intimidate female workers, and friends of one of the Hotel’s owners actively sexually harassing female workers in the owner’s presence, including touching them against their wishes.

This is the latest development in a summer of scandal for Pacific Reach Properties, which owns both the Belmont Hotel and the Hotel Georgia. A recent survey found that although sexual harassment was a serious issue across many luxury hotels in Vancouver, Hotel Georgia had the highest levels of sexual harassment reported. To date, ten different Hotel Georgia workers have come forward about the sexual harassment they are forced to endure. The failure of Hotel Georgia to settle a contract that would provide workers there with sexual harassment protections or to come to agreement on broader worker safety issues for women, particularly around injuries created by dangerous workloads and working conditions for the predominately female room attendants, led Hotel Georgia workers to strike just days ago.  As more women continue to speak out about the practices of hotels owned by Pacific Reach Properties, the group has yet to settle a contract that would keep women safe at Hotel Georgia, or to offer any meaningful sexual harassment protections to the non-union Belmont Hotel workers.

“I know sexual harassment is a problem for many women working in this industry, and at this hotel in particular. Female servers have been touched, kissed and have had to deal with sexual comments and advances from male guests and past managers.” – Sierra Garrison, former server, Hotel Georgia

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

TOMORROW: Striking Hotel Workers Will Hold Citywide Mass Action as they Ask Whose City?, Demand a Safe Workplace, Basic Job Security, and Wages That Are Enough to Survive in Vancouver

What: Vancouver hotel strike demonstration

When: Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 5pm

Where: Meet at the Hyatt Vancouver, at West Georgia and Burrard

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at four downtown Vancouver hotels, including hotel room attendants, cooks, front desk workers, and bellmen.

Note: Frontline UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike now for job security, a safe workplace, and wages that make one job enough to live in Vancouver will be available for interview in person at the action or in advance by phone. To connect with strikers in advance or at the action, contact Sharan.

WHY: 1,200 Vancouver hotel workers are on strike for a better future! Workers at four major Vancouver hotels walked out on strike over the past week after management refused to agree to job protections for long time employees, workplace safety reforms to end the dangerous working conditions for female hotel workers, or wages that would make one job enough to live in Vancouver. The tourism industry in Vancouver is the most profitable hospitality industry in the country, but conditions for workers have only gotten worse. As hotels under strike have doubled their revenues from just years ago, workers have been left behind – on their current wages, striking room attendants have to work 89 hours a week just to earn enough to afford a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver.

Join the strikers as they fight for a Vancouver where a lifetime of service to your employer is rewarded with job security, where women workers aren’t routinely subjected to injuries and chronic pain because of management cutting corners, and where one full time job is enough to live on in our city! WHOSE CITY? Our city!

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Media Advisory: BREAKING! Hotel Georgia workers launch indefinite strike for the first time in hotel’s history

Over 200 hospitality workers at the Hotel Georgia, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, walked off the job last night around midnight after negotiations with the hotel broke down. The walkout follows strikes at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels this week. A strike is unprecedented at Hotel Georgia, rated the #1 hotel in Canada by U.S. News and World Report and regarded as an iconic hotel in Vancouver. Now without a contract for eight months, the workers are demanding respect and working conditions which match the five-star service they provide on a daily basis to the hotel’s clientele.

 

Picket Action

Date: Sunday, Sept 22, 2019

Time: 7:00 AM

Where: Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver

 

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Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Media Advisory: BREAKING! Three downtown Vancouver hotels – Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront – launch indefinite strike over need for safe and stable work

This morning, hundreds of hotel workers from the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, walked off the job in an open-ended strike. This escalation in the dispute follows a lunch hour strike held on Tuesday. After fourteen months of bargaining the hotels have failed to address significant outstanding issues related to workload, safety and job security. Room attendants, chefs, front desk agents and other staff of the high-end hotels are holding downtown strike actions for the first time in nearly two decades, united in their fight to change the industry into one which offers safe, stable and sustainable jobs.

The workers are demanding “One job should be enough!” in Vancouver’s booming hospitality industry which makes record profits year after year, while the cost of living continues to rise in Metro Vancouver. Many of the city’s hotel workers are struggling to provide for their families with precarious, on-call shifts caused by the systemic cutting of hours in these hotels. Safety remains a priority in this dispute, as many workers have stepped forward with complaints of sexual harassment faced on the job, and extreme under-staffing has led to unsafe and unsustainable workload levels. Vancouver’s downtown hotel workers stand together for better quality jobs and an improved quality of life.

Picket Actions

Date: Thursday, Sept 19, 2019

Time: 7:00 AM

Where: Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels

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Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: Historic strike action today; Workers from Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin, Pinnacle hotels to hold lunch hour strike

For the first time in nearly two decades, Vancouver’s downtown hospitality workers – from the  Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels – will walk off the job in a coordinated lunch hour strike, fighting to change the hotel industry into one which provides safe and stable work. The workers will gather outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel for a picketing action. Workers from the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, will join the strike action in spite of a lockout threat imposed by Hotel Georgia management. After this lunch hour, striking staff from the four hotels will be returning to work.

Over 1000 employees of the hotels involved are fighting for safe and sustainable jobs in the industry in order to provide for their families in Metro Vancouver. Safety and workload issues remain a priority in this labour dispute; the systemic cutting of hours in a growing hotel industry has left employees with unsafe and unsustainable workload levels, while expectations for top-tier service in Vancouver continues to rise. The workers are calling for improved safety standards, workload protections, better staffing levels and are demanding “One job should be enough!” in a booming industry which continues to make record profits year after year.

Employees of these prominent Vancouver hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been without a collective agreement for up to 14 months.

 

Lunch Hour Strike    

Date: Tuesday, Sept 17, 2019

Time: 12:00 (Peak time 12:30pm)  

Who: Hotel workers from Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin, Pinnacle hotelsWhere: Hyatt Regency, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver



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Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: Fourth downtown hotel – Pinnacle Harbourfront – issues strike notice; Hyatt Workers to hold picket today

Yesterday, Pinnacle Harbourfront hotel became the latest downtown hotel to join Hotel Georgia, Hyatt and Westin in issuing strike notice. Workers at these prominent Vancouver hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been without a collective agreement for up to 14 months and are prepared to strike in order to achieve better working conditions. Workers at the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, still face a lockout threat imposed by hotel management.

 

Employees of the hotels are demanding “One job should be enough!” in a booming tourism and hospitality industry which continues to make record profits year after year. Workers are fighting for sustainable jobs in the industry order to provide for their families in Metro Vancouver; this includes full-time hours, industry-setting wages, improved benefits and pension, workload protections and increased safety standards.

 

Workers will gather at the Hyatt Regency today at noon during their lunch hour for a picketing action, calling on their employers to bargain a fair contract. Today’s action will also launch the Union’s official boycott of the Hyatt. The workers at Hotel Georgia, Hyatt, Westin and Pinnacle hotels have yet to launch a strike action.

 

Picket Action and Hyatt Boycott Launch 

Date: Friday, Sept 13, 2019

Time: 12:00 – 12:30 PM 

Where: Hyatt Regency, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver

 

 

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Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

ALERT: Westin Bayshore workers issue strike notice; Westin joins Hotel Georgia, Hyatt in threat of strike action

Room attendants, front desk agents, cooks and other hospitality workers at the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, could walk off the job as early as this Saturday. Fed up with little progress in bargaining and without a contract for a year, Westin staff have issued their 72-hour strike notice as of 10:00am Wednesday, September 11th. Workers at the Hyatt Regency issued their 72-hour strike notice earlier this week, meaning picket lines could go up as soon as Thursday morning. The workers at the Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, still face a lockout threat imposed by hotel management.

 

Employees of these high-end hotels want stable and sustainable jobs; the hotel industry expects full-time availability from staff without offering full-time hours, leading to increasingly precarious part-time and on-call work. An example of this is Westin’s “Green Choice Program” which encourages guests to skip room cleaning services under the false pretense of helping the environment. This systemic cutting of hours in the industry prevents workers from earning enough to support themselves and their families in Metro Vancouver.

 

For more information contact Sharan Pawa at 604-725-0053 or [email protected]