Media Advisory: BREAKING: Negotiations with Hotel Georgia break down again, striking Hotel Georgia workers to confront Pacific Reach Properties demanding a return to the table

What: Hotel workers rally

When: Thursday, October 24, 2019, 5pm

Where: Hotel Belmont, 654 Nelson Street, Vancouver

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, joined in solidarity by former striking workers and the Vancouver community

WHY: Yesterday, in the fifth week of the strike, negotiations with Rosewood Hotel Georgia broke down for a second time, with the company refusing to continue bargaining and address staff concerns. Rosewood Hotel Georgia workers have been on strike for over a month, and Hotel Georgia is the only luxury hotel in Vancouver still under strike after three others agreed to contract demands that ended the strike at their properties more than a week ago. Join workers as they demand management return to the table and settle a contract which provides a five-star standard for economic, workplace safety and job security improvements in Vancouver.

The Rosewood Hotel Georgia and the Hotel Belmont have both come under media scrutiny recently for sexual harassment. Hotel Georgia workers walked off the job in part over Pacific Reach Properties’ dangerous working conditions for women which put them at risk for injury and assault at the Hotel Georgia. A recent survey and human rights complaint exposed the sexual harassment issues prevalent for staff at the five-star hotel. Despite this, Canada’s top-rated hotel is the only hotel still under strike – refusing to meet and negotiate with their 200 striking employees.

Last month, female staff from the Hotel Belmont filed human rights complaints against Pacific Reach Properties. Their accounts detail experiences of harassment and assault including management refusing to take action to remove guests who sexually harass and intimidate female workers. 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.

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

Press Release: Vancouver Hotel Strikers Celebrate Historic Raises of up to 25% at Multiple Downtown Hotels, Strike Continues at Hotel Georgia

Vancouver – As of 6:00pm on October 16, 2019, UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, and Pinnacle Harbourfront voted to ratify a historic new contract for those properties as well as at the Four Seasons, with industry leading gains including raises of up to 25%. In addition, new standards around workplace safety, sexual harassment, and job security have been pioneered in the new contracts.

 

The ratification of these contracts ends a 28 day strike of three major downtown Vancouver properties, yet the strike continues at Hotel Georgia. In addition to establishing industry transforming wage standards, the new contracts include innovative sexual harassment protections, workload reductions, and improvements in benefits and job security for restaurant and kitchen staff. The vote to approve this new contract ends the picket lines outside and boycotts of Hyatt, Westin and Pinnacle hotels, with workers at these properties proudly returning to work today.

 

“Our members are key to the success of these luxury hotels, and they chose the sacrifice of striking in order to win improved working conditions, respect and a real future in this industry,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “This is the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades , and I’m deeply moved by the courage and vision of our members in taking on this fight. With this contract we have achieved a new standard in the hospitality industry which will improve the lives of not only our own members and their families, but the lives of all hotel workers in Vancouver. This strike has sent a strong message to the industry, not to underestimate the power of working people. We will now turn the momentum of this historic victory to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where our strikers have been without a contract for ten months and management has failed to offer acceptable working conditions, wages, or security.”

 

“Our new contract is proof to me that Vancouver is our city!” said Nassa Chantacheevakul, banquet server at Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel. “As a millennial worker in Metro Vancouver, this contract will make the difference for me between struggling to make rent each month to being able to truly build a life here. I’m proud of what my coworkers and I won – we picketed, we rallied, we made ourselves heard, and we took care of each other during the 28 days of this strike. Not a single Vancouver hotel worker crossed the picket lines, and we proved what can be achieved in a union! We won raises higher than our bosses said we ever could. I look forward to going back to work and back to serving my guests!”

 

Almost two hundred hotel workers remain on strike at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. UNITE HERE Local 40 calls on Hotel Georgia to settle this strike.

 

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

Media Advisory: Tentative Agreement Reached with Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency, Pinnacle Harbourfront and Four Seasons hotels!

ANNOUCEMENT

Early this morning, a tentative agreement was reached between UNITE HERE Local 40 and the Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency, Pinnacle Harbourfront and Four Seasons hotels, representing approximately 1,500 downtown Vancouver hotel workers.

This ground-breaking agreement secures significant wage increases for hotel staff over a four-year period, implements protections against sexual harassment, strengthens job security for room attendants and kitchen and restaurant workers, and maintains health insurance.

“Our strike has made the changes we need in the hotel industry! I’m very happy about the workload reductions for room attendants. The job security we’ve won is also great for our members, our families and will keep our union strong. I’m very proud of our members, we’ve picketed through rain and cold weather for this fight, and we feel united and strong with this tentative agreement reached.” – Teresita Gonzales, Room Attendant Supervisor, Pinnacle Habourfront hotel

No agreement has been reached yet with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where the strike continues.

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

Media Advisory: Tomorrow NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh Joins Striking Vancouver Hotel Workers to Celebrate Thanksgiving!

What: Hotel Workers Thanksgiving Lunch

When: Monday, October 14, 2019 at 12:30pm

Where: The Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver

 

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers entering their fourth week on strike at four downtown Vancouver hotels (Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront), 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 the first time in nearly 20 years, demanding that American hotel corporations like Marriott stop paying Canadian workers less than American workers. This Thanksgiving long weekend Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s NDP and MP for Burnaby South, joins the strikers as they hold a feast in celebration of their fight, proud to stand united for job security, safe workplaces and wages which would make one job enough to live in Vancouver. They work for companies like Marriott which 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 need wages that keep up with the rising cost of living. Vancouver’s hotel workers are proud to stand up to Marriott and the other corporations, developers and investors who own and operate hotels in our city that have made a life in Vancouver unaffordable. Jagmeet Singh is the first federal party leader to show support for striking hotel workers in their fight for secure and safe jobs in Canada’s most expensive city.

 

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

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]