Prince George Hospitality Workers Rising!

UNITE HERE! Local 40 members living in Prince George have won multiple contract victories across the city over the past six months. By supporting one another across several labour disputes, and with the support of allied unions and community members, Local 40 members have reached strong contract settlements that have improved the lives of hundreds of families in Prince George.

In October, cafeteria workers at the University of Northern British Columbia ratified a new agreement with their employer, the Compass Group, addressing longstanding concerns over low wages and narrowly averting a strike on campus.

Following closely on that victory, in December, workers at Prince George’s Coast Inn of the North reached a settlement alongside workers at the Coast Bastion in Nanaimo, and Coast Harbourfront in Victoria. The new contract includes wage increases, improvements to pension and medical benefits, and important workload protections for housekeepers.

Finally, this January, workers at the Ramada Prince George ratified a contract that enshrined major wage gains.

“The last few years have brought dramatic increases in the cost of living. Being part of a union like UNITE HERE! Local 40 is one of the best ways for hospitality workers like me to keep from falling behind,” said Stacey Moen, a cook at the Ramada Prince George.

PRESS RELEASE: Local 40 members see major wins in Victoria

Victoria – UNITE HERE! Local 40 members in Victoria have been on a roll over the past few weeks, having secured not one, but two major contract victories in the last month. In late November, YYJ Airport food service workers secured a foundational contract that includes significant wage increases, a new pension, workload protection, and more. Following on that victory, another group of local 40 members, staff at the Coast Victoria Harbourfront, ratified a contract with Coast Hotels on December 18, declaring the new agreement a major step forward.

Bargaining together with workers at the Coast Inn of the North in Prince George, and the Coast Bastion in Nanaimo, Coast Harbourfront workers secured a new agreement that includes wage increases, major improvements to pension and medical benefits, language to protect restaurant workers’ tips, and significant workload protection for housekeepers.

“I’ve been working at the Coast Hotel for 27 years. I am proud of my co-workers for staying strong and unified and for fighting for everything that we won in this contract. The improvements to our benefits and pension will really help me and all of my co-workers,” said Christine Hillier, a housekeeper at Coast Victoria Harbourfront.

These victories come at a time when BC’s tourism industry has been booming. Yet, Victoria’s travel and hospitality workers juggle very high workloads and a rising cost of living. UNITE HERE! Local 40 has worked hard to ensure that hospitality workers can continue to afford living and working in Victoria, pushing employers to pay wages that allow workers to keep up.

“The tourism and hospitality industry employs thousands in Victoria, and while our employers generate millions of dollars, workers’ earnings have not matched that growth. I am proud to have worked with other Local 40 members to win contracts that improve our quality of life, and give us jobs we can actually live on. This is only the beginning. I am excited to work with the union to keep transforming the lives of hospitality workers in Victoria,” said Mark Atkins, a cook at YYJ Airport.

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For more information contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]

News Release: Contract flip at YVR Airport puts 90 food service workers’ jobs at risk

VANCOUVER – Approximately 90 contracted airport food service workers could lose their jobs due to Vancouver Airport Authority’s recent decision to switch food service operators. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, will have to reapply for the jobs or face being replaced by non-union workers earning minimum wage to perform the same work. The Union is urging the provincial government to extend successorship protections to contracted food service workers who are vulnerable when contracts change hands.

The workers are employed by HMSHost, the global airport operator that operates several restaurants and quick serve outlets in YVR Airport’s domestic and international terminals. On Friday, Vancouver Airport Authority announced the award of a new food and beverage contract to a competing food service operator which will lead to 90 workers at White Spot, Burger King and Café Brioche being replaced. Most of the affected workers are women, many of whom immigrated to Canada, and have worked at the airport for over a decade.

“We have no job security at YVR. I have two children, so it’s scary not knowing what comes next,” said Denise Yuile, a long-term server at White Spot in the domestic terminal.

UNITE HERE Local 40 has repeatedly called on Vancouver Airport Authority to retain workers affected by contract-flipping. Vancouver Airport Authority has so far refused to address the issue. When contracts are retendered, workers are told to reapply for their jobs if they want to continue working at the airport, which means they lose any wage and benefit gains earned during their years of service. Local 40 estimates that hundreds of airport concession workers have lost their jobs at YVR as a result.

“This is a prime example of why the province needs to protect contracted food service workers when institutions flip contracts and replace experienced workers with those who are paid minimum wage. YVR’s revolving door of contractors leads to precarious, unstable work and prevents low-wage airport workers from improving their work conditions. YVR touts their role as a sustainable airport but has a long history of treating contracted food service workers, many of them women of colour, as if they’re disposable,” said Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40.

UNITE HERE Local 40 is urging the province to extend successorship protections to contracted food service workers, while also calling on the Vancouver Airport Authority to ensure the incoming contractor hires current workers, recognizes their years of service, and retains their wages and benefits.

Federal and provincial levels of government have acted recently to address contract-flipping in other sectors. In December, the federal government passed legislation that will protect some workers in federally-regulated sectors from contract-flipping, such as security guards and maintenance staff at airports. At the provincial level, the B.C. government recently repealed laws that ends the practice of contract-flipping in the health care sector.

Join us in sending a strong message to the B.C. government that contracted food service workers deserve respect and protection from contract-flipping. Click here to sign our petition.

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Contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

*This has been updated from the original version.

Workers at the Ramada Prince George Hotel secure new contract

PRESS RELEASE
New agreement includes a $3 increase and significant medical improvements.

Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi
Phone: 604-813-2105
E-mail: [email protected]

Hotel workers at the Ramada Plaza in downtown Prince George have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with their employer today. The agreement brings to an end a protracted labor dispute at the hotel and significantly increases wages for a group of workers who have been the lowest paid union hotel workers in Prince George.

The workers, members of UNITE HERE! Local 40, will receive a wage increase of $3 per hour by June 2020, while some job classifications will receive even higher wage increases.

This agreement marks the third significant victory for Local 40 members in Prince George within the last six months, including contract settlements at UNBC and Coast Inn of the North. These settlements have improved the lives of over 200 families in Prince George.

“I am proud to be a member of UNITE HERE! Local 40. By being part of a union and supporting each other in workplaces across the city, hospitality workers have been able to win significant improvements to our standard of living,” said Stacey Moen, a cook at the Ramada.

Prince George’s labour movement significantly supported each of those victories. Allied unions attended demonstrations, withdrew their business during labour disputes, and encouraged members to respect picket lines when these disputes escalated toward strikes.

“We want to acknowledge the tremendous support from Prince George unions during our two-year long fight,” said Harley Augustino, Union Representative for Prince George. “Solidarity is our strength and we look forward to continuing to improve the lives of Prince George working families for years to come.”

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Local 40 Supports Sheila Malcolmson in the Nanaimo By-Election!

Vote Sheila!

Sheila Malcolmson (on the left) supporting Coast Bastion hotel workers on strike in December 2018.

Every vote counts! Cast your vote at the locations below. Bring your Voting Card with you, or 2 pieces of ID including one with your address.

For more information about voting please visit www.Elections.BC.ca.

Voting Dates & Places

 

Tues Jan 29th, 8am to 5pm

Elections Office (#201 – 65 Front Street)

 

Wed Jan 30th, 8am to 8pm

Elections Office (#201 – 65 Front Street)

Fairview Community School

Uplands Park Elementary School

Alliance Church

Departure Bay Baptist Church

Beban Park Social Centre

Bowen Park Auditorium

Departure Bay Activity Centre

Hammond Bay Elementary School

NAN District Electoral Office

Nanaimo Christian School

Nanaimo Yacht Club

Protection Island Fire Hall

Wellington Hall

Notice: 2019 General Membership Meetings & Union Dues

2019 General Membership Meetings 

*Times & locations to be announced

January 30th

April 24th

July 31st

October 30th

 

Union Dues 

Pursuant to Article 17, section 1(a) of the UNITE HERE Constitution there is a mandated $1.00 increase to dues for those who work 79 hours or less a month.

The minimum dues will increase from $31.65 to $32.65.

Dues will remain the same for members who work over 80 hours a month at 2 x hourly rate + $16.00.

Union, Community call on City of Richmond to Support Chinese Workers Facing Discrimination for Union Activity

UNITE HERE Local 40 files complaint with B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Richmond, BC – When the Four Points by Sheraton Vancouver Airport changed ownership a year ago, approximately 80% of the hotel staff were Chinese.  The predominantly Chinese staff organized to join UNITE HERE Local 40, but within one year, management reduced the number of Chinese staff from 80% to 40%.  Many of the workers are part of Richmond’s Chinese community and are experienced members of the hospitality industry.

The Four Points workers voted to unionize in February 2018 to have a voice on the job and to feel valued in their workplace.  The employer has retaliated by firing a Chinese union supporter, who was later reinstated by order of the B.C. Labour Relations Board, terminated the predominantly Chinese food & beverage staff, reduced the hours of union supporters and has denied leave to workers who requested time to attend to health and family matters in China.

“UNITE HERE Local 40 wants to know why management appears to be targeting long term staff and members of the Chinese community,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

UNITE Here Local 40 is calling upon Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Richmond City Council to support Richmond’s Chinese workers and examine the practises of the hotel owner, Rajeev Nijjar – a developer and business owner in Richmond – over the hotel’s treatment of Chinese workers. The union contends that the City’s hotels should be good places for people who live in the community to work.

“The City of Richmond has an obligation to this community to ensure Mr. Nijjar is not targeting Chinese workers at his hotel,” says Chan.

Richmond has approximately 200,000 residents, roughly 54% of them Chinese.

“We want everyone at work to be treated fairly.  I don’t understand why the hotel would want to remove Chinese employees when so much of our clientele is Chinese,” said Leung. “There are times when only one person on shift can speak Chinese, and this can make it hard to provide proper service to our guests in their language.”

Richmond’s Intercultural Advisory Committee has introduced an Intercultural Strategic Plan which states that Richmond’s Intercultural Vision is “for Richmond to be the most welcoming, inclusive and harmonious community in Canada.” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie proudly points out that Richmond is recognized internationally as “a model for cultural diversity and harmony.”

“Discrimination against Chinese workers does not align with Richmond as ‘a model for cultural diversity and harmony’ that the City hopes to be. The City of Richmond needs to examine why Chinese workers are being targeted for union activity at this Four Points hotel,” adds Local 40 President Zailda Chan.

 

Sign our Public Statement of Support for Richmond’s Four Points Workers here. 

Press Release: Prince George Coast workers protest lockout threat

Prince George – Today, Coast Hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and their labour allies held a demonstration at the Coast Inn of the North against the company’s lockout threat. On Tuesday, Coast Hotels issued a 72-hour lockout notice at Coast Inn of the North, Coast Bastion in Nanaimo, and Coast Victoria Harbourside. The move could affect more than 250 workers and their families in three cities as they head into the holiday season.

This escalating labour dispute comes as BC’s hotel industry has enjoyed record revenues in recent years. For months, Coast Hotels has failed to address workers’ demands for livable wage increases, protection from high workloads, an increased pension contribution, and an end to clawbacks of worker’s tips.

“I’ve worked at for Coast for 27 years. I have hip problems and hip surgery coming up. Our workload is so heavy that I take pain killers first thing in the morning just to work. I’m outraged that the company is threatening to lock us out right before Christmas. With what we’re paid, we live almost paycheck to paycheck. A lockout hurts my ability to pay my bills and my mortgage,” said Susan Bishop, a housekeeper at Coast Inn of the North.

Independent of the lockout notice, Laird Cronk, the new president of the BCFED, called for mediation between UNITE HERE Local 40 and Coast Hotels after workers at Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion held a one-day strike on Saturday. The union and the company are currently in mediation this Wednesday and Thursday. The Union has set a deadline of midnight on December 13 to reach a settlement and has called on the labour movement to pull business from the hotels if no deal is reached.

“The labour movement has loyally supported the Coast Inn of the North and we are outraged by the company’s lockout notice. Our support will be a thing of the past if the company continues with this aggressively anti-union action that hurts workers,” said Natalie Fletcher, President of the North Central Labour Council of BC. She continued, “Prince George unions are ready to pull their business from the Coast hotel if a settlement is not reached by midnight on Thursday. If the company locks workers out over the holidays, some of that business may never come back.”

For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105  or [email protected]

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Breaking: Coast Bastion Hotel Workers on Strike!

WHAT:  UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel members at Coast Bastion Hotel are on a one-day strike.

WHEN:  Saturday, December 8, 2018; 6:30AM

WHERE: Coast Bastion Hotel, 11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC

 WHO:   Approximately 100 hotel housekeepers, housemen, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, food & beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman, maintenance workers and others.

 WHY: As of 6:30AM, workers at the Coast Bastion Hotel walked off the job today for a one-day strike.  The hotel’s housekeepers, cooks, food and beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman and others – all members of UNITE HERE! Local 40 – are taking strike action after months of bargaining in which Coast Hotels has failed to address demands for decent wage increases, has ignored room attendants crippling workloads, proposed just pennies in pension improvements, and wants to claw back workers’ tips.

Coast Bastion has been rated the brand’s #1 hotel. Nanaimo’s tourism industry has welcomed record numbers of visitors in recent years, in line with cities across British Columbia. While Coast Hotels is reaping the benefits of a tourism boom, the cost of living in Nanaimo is steadily increasing, yet Coast Bastion workers are falling behind.

“The Coast Bastion announced record revenues for several years in a row, yet all of us struggle to get by in Nanaimo. We work hard to make the Coast Bastion the brand’s hotel of the year, and we have walked off the job today to fight for wages and health benefits that we can actually live on,” says Garry Constable, a server at the Coast Bastion.

Coast Bastion is one of three Coast hotels bargaining together under a master agreement. Hotel workers at Coast Victoria Harbourside and Coast Inn of the North have raised similar issues across the chain.

“Too little progress has been made at the negotiating table for months, and we hope this one day strike sends a message to the company to get serious and listen to their staff, stop demanding servers share their tips with management, and start agreeing to safer and more sustainable workload for housekeepers,” say Local 40’s executive director, Robert Demand.

The next round of bargaining is scheduled for December 12-13.

For more information, please contact Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected] 

Food service workers at Victoria Intl Airport secure new contract

PRESS RELEASE

New agreement includes significant raises and improves staffing

Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi
Phone: 604-813-2105
E-mail: [email protected]

Food service workers at Victoria International Airport (YYJ) represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have ratified a new contract with the airport’s food service provider, Compass Group, by an overwhelming margin. The new agreement end the long, protracted labour dispute and addresses workers’ concerns about low pay and unreasonably high workloads due to understaffing.

The workers, employed at YYJ’s White Spot, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Spinnakers on the Fly, will receive significant raises of up to 24% over the life of the agreement and retroactive bonuses. Most non-tipped workers will soon reach $15/hour by June 1 – well ahead of the BC Government’s scheduled minimum wage increases and ahead of most concession workers at competing airports, like Vancouver International Airport. The new agreement also establishes the first ever pension for food workers at YYJ and includes critical workload protections that will tackle understaffing.

“This is a foundational contract that reflects the hard work our members put into their jobs every day. We can now attract experienced workers to help with the chronic under-staffing and to help our team succeed as our workplace grows,” said Mark Atkins, lead cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.

Over the last 18 months, workers engaged in multiple job actions and demonstrations at YYJ. They were backed by the strong support of union allies, elected officials, community groups and passengers from the Greater Victoria region who demanded that contracted food workers at YYJ not be given second-class treatment.

“For too long, I have felt that my work here at the airport was undervalued. The wage increases and benefits we will receive with this new contract are starting to change that, so that I can afford to stay here and do the work that I love,” said Karlene Kipling, a cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.

The new contract will expire in 2020. YYJ’s contracted workers will continue to press the Victoria Airport Authority and the province to address contract flipping at airports and other institutions in B.C.

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