Burnaby, B.C. — Today, Hilton Metrotown workers held a mass rally to commemorate B.C.’s longest hotel worker lockout where they have picketed for 365 days straight. Over 400 people, including locked out Hilton Metrotown workers, elected officials, other area hotel workers and allies, marched on a massive picket line, calling for hotel owner DSDL Canada Investments — a subsidiary of Seoul-based DSDL Co. — to resolve the lockout and bring workers back ahead of tourism rebounding this spring.
During the pandemic, Hilton Metrotown terminated 97 workers before locking the rest out in April 2021. Many of those affected are women and people of colour who served the hotel since it opened 21 years ago. Hilton Metrotown workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.
At the rally, workers pledged to continue their efforts picketing in front of the hotel and reaching out to customers to urge them to go elsewhere. Since the lockout began, customer groups such as the B.C. Touring Council have moved events and stayed away from the hotel until its owner resolves the lockout. The BC Federation of Labour endorsed a customer boycott of the hotel in 2021, and $2 million worth of union customer business is estimated to have been lost since the lockout began. Lufthansa crew members moved their accommodations away from the hotel last year.
“Every day I am on the picket line, I have many ‘what if’ thoughts running through my head. What will happen tomorrow? Will I still be on the picket line next year? What if I have to find another job? It’s been stressful, but I’m not giving up, even after one year. I know that the final destination is yet to come. Together, we workers will stay strong. We will continue to urge customers not to stay at this hotel. Hilton Metrotown, it is time to end the lockout now,” said Angelica Hernandez, a locked out banquet server who served the hotel for 21 years.
“At a time when the hotel industry is asking for government support to alleviate labour shortages, Hilton Metrotown is refusing to return their long-term staff who want to work. Workers will continue to reach out to customers and investors, and picket the hotel for as long as it takes!” said Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40.
“This has been a long and drawn out bargaining process, which has now stretched on for a full calendar year. It is past due that we find a resolution which recognizes the hard work, dedication and commitment that Hilton Metrotown staff have exhibited through their work for years,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “ I express my steadfast solidarity and support with Hilton Metrotown workers, valued members of our community who deserve respect and fairness.”
For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]
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.