Day 14 of “Fast for Our Jobs” – Hotel Workers’ Hunger Strike Enters Third Week

For Immediate Release – August 23, 2020

Hunger Strikers to Move from BC Legislature to Maple Ridge office of Tourism Minister

Vancouver, BC – As they enter the third week of their hunger strike, fasting hotel workers plan to move their encampment from the lawn of the BC Legislature to the Maple Ridge office of Tourism Minister Lisa Beare.  Laid-off workers are awaiting a decision from the province that could affect up to 50,000 hotel workers across B.C.  A provincial review of recall protections for workers concluded on August 20, but the province has not announced a decision on the matter.

Fasters and community supporters will move their hunger strike to Minister Beare’s office in Maple Ridge the morning of Thursday, August 27, and will hold a demonstration that afternoon.  Until then, fasters will remain at the BC Legislature and will send delegations to meet with South Island MLAs.

The province has said any decision regarding recall protections for laid-off hotel workers may come after a provincial review of the issue. Hunger strikers are urging the province to enact changes which grant workers, laid-off due to the pandemic, a right to return to their jobs as business recovers.  Hotel employers have used the pandemic as an excuse for mass terminations of laid-off staff and can replace them for less when the industry recovers.  This comes as the tourism sector is calling on the province for a $680 million bailout.

“Every day that goes by without action by the province, more hotels will use the pandemic as an excuse to fire their workers,” said Nym Calvez, a hotel room attendant and organizer of the hunger strike.

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

Day 12 of Fast for Our Jobs Press Conference: Fasters to Comment on Provincial Recall Review; Special Announcement regarding Hotel Workers’ Hunger Strike

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

Victoria, BC – Fasters will hold a press conference this afternoon to provide comment on the province’s review of recall protections for laid-off workers.  As the review draws to a close, fasters await a decision that could affect up to 50,000 hotel workers across B.C.  They will also announce details regarding the continuation of the hunger strike, now in its twelfth day on the lawn of the BC Legislature.  Fasters are urging the government to enact changes that grant workers, laid-off due to the pandemic, a right to return to their jobs as business recovers. 

WHO:  Fasting hotel workers and community allies

WHEN:  Friday, August 21; 12 PM

WHERE: Steps of the BC Legislature, 501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

VISUALS:  Fasters and their supporters on steps of BC Legislature, wearing masks, distanced 2 metres apart, chanting and speaking with 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 11 of “Fast for Our Jobs”: Hunger Strikers to hold Candlelight Vigil as they await decision from province; Laid-off workers from JW Marriott Parq Hotel latest to face terminations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2020

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

WHAT: Candlelight Vigil

WHO Hotel workers, faith leaders and community allies from Victoria and Lower Mainland.

WHERE:  Steps of the BC Legislature, 501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

WHEN:  Thursday, August 20, 9:00 p.m.

WHY:  Tonight, fasters and community allies will hold a candlelight vigil as they await a decision from the province regarding recall protections for laid-off hotel workers. Tens of thousands of hotel workers face the risk of being terminated from their jobs in the absence of basic protections.  The JW Marriott Parq Vancouver is the latest in a series of non-union hotels that have used the pandemic to fire workers, originally laid-off due to the pandemic, despite the province urging “employers [to] do the right thing” and keep their workforce.  While the province granted employers a delay in severance payouts and considers the tourism sector’s request for a $680 million bailout, laid-off workers have no basic protections to keep their jobs.  

Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, said: “While we wait for the province’s response, more non-union hotel workers are facing mass terminations. The high-end JW Marriott Parq Hotel is the latest in a string of hotels that are failing to keep their workforce intact. How many more hotel workers will lose their jobs while employers use the pandemic as an excuse to eventually replace them? What’s worse is that JW Marriott Parq sits on land controlled by a provincial crown corporation, PavCo. Hotel workers will continue to wage their hunger strike until the province takes action and gives laid-off hotel workers a legal right to return to their jobs. The time to act is now.”

Laid-off hotel workers have been fasting on the lawn of the BC Legislature for 11 days, with non-union workers joining the fast yesterday. The hunger strike will continue indefinitely until laid-off hotel workers are granted a right to return to their jobs.

VISUALS:  Fasters singing, holding candles and colourful signs, socially distanced and wearing masks.

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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 10 of “Fast for Our Jobs” – Hunger Strikers in Wheelchairs to Demonstrate Outside BC Legislature to Save 50,000 Jobs

MEDIA ADVISORY

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

Victoria, B.C.— Fasting hotel workers and their allies will hold a demonstration outside the BC Legislature as they await the province’s announcement on recall protections for laid-off workers. The provincial review of recall protections is expected to conclude on August 20.  Hotel workers want a legal right to return to their jobs as business recovers. Meanwhile, the government contemplates the tourism sector’s request for a $680 million bailout as laid-off hotel workers face the risk of being permanently replaced. Non-union workers who were among those impacted by mass terminations at the Shangri-La and the Pan Pacific Hotels have joined the hunger strike.

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

WHERE:  501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

WHEN:  Wednesday, August 19, 12 p.m.*

VISUALS:  Fasters marching in procession, socially distanced and wearing masks, with protestors chanting and speaking with 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.

Day 9 of “Fast for Our Jobs” – Hunger Strikers to Ministers Lana Popham and Rob Fleming: Protect our Jobs!

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

Victoria, B.C.— Today, on the ninth day of their hunger strike outside the BC Legislature, delegations of fasting hotel workers will urge Ministers Lana Popham (MLA, Saanich South) and Rob Fleming (MLA, Victoria-Swan Lake) to protect the jobs of 50,000 hotel workers across BC.  The fasters will deliver a petition, signed by hundreds of supporters, to the ministers urging them to enact protections for hard-hit hotel workers laid-off due to the pandemic.

Tomorrow: Demonstration to Save 50,000 Jobs to be held at BC Legislature

Wednesday, August 19, 12pm: Fasters and their allies will hold a demonstration outside the BC Legislature ahead of the government’s announcement on recall protections. The provincial review of recall protections is expected to conclude on August 20.  While the government contemplates the tourism sector’s request for a $680 million bailout, laid-off hotel workers face the risk of being permanently replaced. Hotel workers want a legal right to return to their jobs as business recovers.

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

WHERE:  501 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

WHEN:  Wednesday, August 19, 12 p.m.*

VISUALS:  Fasters marching in procession, socially distanced and wearing masks, with protestors chanting and speaking with 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.