Jericho Tennis Club Workers Win Big Increases Amidst Record High Inflation in Vancouver

Vancouver, BC — Workers at Jericho Tennis Club, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have reached a new collective agreement and secured significant wage increases to meet the rising cost of living. This victory comes as Vancouverites are seeing the highest levels of inflation in decades.

Highlights of the new collective agreement include total wage increases of more than 10% over the course of the 3-year agreement, retroactive wage increases back to last fall, and contract language that ensures more employees will have access to quarterly bonuses.

“We’re happy to win our new collective agreement because these raises will allow all of us to better provide for our families,” said Lyndon Roberts, bargaining committee member and a Groundsperson at the Club.

“Negotiating the collective agreement at Jericho took a strong team effort of our bargaining committee, and all of the union members who participated. Keep up the good work and more victories will come,” said Quinton Heddema, bargaining committee member and long-term Cook.

“With inflation at its highest rate in decades, BC hospitality employers need to fairly compensate employees for their hard work. We want to thank the management of Jericho Tennis Club for working with us to reach an agreement that allows our union members to move forward,” said Mike Biskar, Organizer at UNITE HERE Local 40.

UNITE HERE Local 40 represents thousands of BC hospitality workers, including over 350 employees at private member clubs across the Lower Mainland.

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing workers in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

200 Camp Workers Deliver Signed Petition, Urge LNG Canada to Extend 12% Wage Increase to Contracted Workers

Kitimat, BC — Today, nearly 200 contract camp workers who work on the LNG Canada site in Kitimat delivered a petition to management urging the company to increase their wages by 12%. This comes after LNG Canada announced a 12% wage increase to all building trades workers earlier this month. The contract camp workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, BC’s camp workers union.

Contract workers on the LNG Canada site include janitors, housekeepers, front desk, and culinary employees, who were left out of the 12% wage increase that the company announced to building trades workers. These contract workers are the lowest-paid employees on the pipeline. Compared to other LNG Canada workers, many contract workers are also women, Indigenous, and people of colour. 

So far, the petition has garnered close to 200 signatures from workers at Civeo at Sitka Lodge, Horizon North Dexterra at the LNG site, and Crossroads Lodge. The petition details how the wage increase addresses concerns of skyrocketing inflation and living costs for building trades workers, yet most contract workers on the pipeline who were excluded from the wage increase live paycheque to paycheque.

“Us janitors worked through Covid. We played a significant role ensuring LNG Canada’s Kitimat plant continued to run during the pandemic by protecting people’s health and safety. Along with housekeepers, front desk, and culinary workers, we are the backbone of this project and deserve to be treated with respect,” said Murray Innes, LNG janitor from the Gitxaala Nation.

“Housekeepers, janitors, and culinary workers are an integral part of the progression of the pipeline and we should not be treated as second class workers. That’s why those of us from Civeo at Sitka Lodge, Horizon North Dexterra at the LNG site, and Crossroads Lodge, are backing this petition. LNG Canada needs to recognize the hard work we do and extend the 12% wage increase to us immediately!” said Monika Schuster, housekeeping supervisor at Civeo at Sitka Lodge.

Media Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality and camp workers’ union and represents members in construction camps and the hotel, food service, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

UNITE HERE Local 40 (Vancouver) Job Posting: Campaign Researcher

UNITE HERE Local 40 is seeking a Campaign Researcher to conduct corporate and industry research and analysis to carry out campaigns focused on winning economic justice for BC’s hospitality workers. UNITE HERE Local 40 is B.C.’s hospitality workers’ union and is leading the fight to organize the unorganized and at the forefront of campaigns for workers’ rights and quality jobs. 

We represent thousands of hospitality workers working in hotels, foodservice, remote resource camps, airports, and other venues across the province. We have a diverse membership that includes workers from many immigrant communities, and the majority of our members are women. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Conduct company, industry and real estate research using a wide variety of databases and online sources, as well as field work.  
  • Develop company analyses and adapt them for various audiences (e.g., leadership & staff, workers, investors, political & regulatory bodies, the public)
  • Identify and analyze new development projects in our industries 
  • Communicate and build relationships with a wide variety of players including community organizations, industry representatives, customers, policy makers, and elected officials. 
  • Develop and carry out campaign strategies and tactics
  • Work with UNITE HERE members, organizers, staff, and elected leaders; assist in moving campaigns forward through organizing, leading actions, doing political work, as needed.

Qualifications include:

  • Passion for, and commitment to, fighting for workers’ rights 
  • BA degree and relevant research and/or activist experience (e.g., labour, political, or community/campus activism)
  • Strong analytical skills, writing, computer, and interpersonal/organizing skills
  • Willingness to work long and sometimes irregular hours; some travel will be required.
  • Proficient with database and word processing software
  • Ability to learn quickly, work well on a team, and handle competing priorities with deadlines
  • Driver’s license

UNITE HERE Campaign Researchers have worked in the past as community and union organizers, journalists, urban planners, teachers, and researchers elsewhere.  

Location: Vancouver, BC

Position: Full-time

Contact: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with references, and a writing sample to [email protected].  Resumes without a cover letter or writing sample will not be considered.

Florida Congressman urges SBA to scrutinize forgiveness of loans intended for small businesses, cites Hyatt Jacksonville

Jacksonville hotel, currently under boycott, terminated 122 workers after receiving millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans

Jacksonville, Florida — U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) is urging the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure businesses who received forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans used the funds for payroll as Congress intended. In a recent letter to the SBA, the congressman questioned millions in loans directed to Westmont Hospitality Group, a large hotel owner whose affiliate owns Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront and which terminated 122 workers after receiving the first of two PPP loans.

The letter dated June 9 states that Hyatt Jacksonville terminated 120 hotel workers six weeks after the owner was approved for a $3.49 million PPP loan during the pandemic. More workers were terminated before the owner was approved for a second PPP loan of $2 million. Recipients of PPP loans were required to spend 60% of loan proceeds on payroll costs to justify loan forgiveness.

“It concerns me that public funds directed to the owner of Hyatt Jacksonville may not have benefited those who truly needed it. I believe strong transparency and oversight are needed to ensure that companies who can demonstrate how they protected workers’ jobs receive forgiveness of PPP loans,” wrote Rep. Lawson.

In the letter, Lawson asked the SBA to account for how much of the hotel’s PPP loans actually went to payroll costs and whether those funds were used to pay for the hotel’s renovations. The hotel spent millions to renovate its meeting and event space last year. The SBA originally intended to review all loans of $2 million or more but will now review loans after they have been forgiven.  Rep. Lawson encouraged the SBA to review borrowers like Westmont Hospitality which received more than $2 million in PPP loans. Westmont affiliates took over $48 million in PPP loans across the U.S.

Rep. Lawson joins other U.S. representatives who have raised concerns about the PPP loan compliance process and have urged the SBA to update Members of Congress on its plans to ensure loans were properly forgiven. In March, Members of Congress expressed concerns over PPP loans granted to large hospitality employers and called on SBA to increase transparency and oversight of its loan forgiveness process.

This month, hospitality workers union UNITE HERE Local 40 launched a customer boycott against the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel in response to the pandemic terminations. The AFL-CIO has endorsed the boycott.

To view the letter, click here.

Media contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356.

UNITE HERE Local 40 is an affiliate of UNITE HERE International Union. UNITE HERE is the hospitality workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada that represents hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, gaming, restaurants and food service, and airports, including more than 30,000 workers across the state of Florida.  

UNITE HERE Local 40 Launches Boycott of Westmont-owned Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Endorsed by AFL CIO

City’s premiere convention hotel terminated 121 hotel workers despite receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans

Jacksonville, Florida — Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 announced a boycott of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the owner of Hyatt Jacksonville took $5.49 million in U.S. Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans intended to sustain small businesses and protect workers’ jobs affected by the unprecedented crisis. Yet, Hyatt Jacksonville terminated 121 workers despite receiving the loans. The customer boycott, endorsed by the AFL-CIO, comes as major events return to Jacksonville.

Hyatt Jacksonville is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group. Westmont, an international hotel company that owns and operates over 400 hotels worldwide, received two PPP loans during the pandemic. Six weeks after the hotel was approved for a $3.49 million PPP loan, the hotel issued a WARN notice announcing termination of 119 hotel workers. More workers were terminated before the owner was approved for a second PPP loan of $2 million. Recipients of these loans were required to spend 60% of PPP loan proceeds on payroll costs to justify loan forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the hotel took advantage of the lull in visitors during the pandemic to undertake a multi-million renovation of its meeting and event space. Jacksonville is currently experiencing a resurgence in group business and setting record occupancy levels. Hyatt Jacksonville has not responded to the union’s questions over whether they offered to reinstate the 121 workers.

UNITE HERE Local 40 and Florida labour and community are urging residents and all travellers to not sleep, eat or meet at Hyatt Jacksonville. “We held our 2016 and 2022 State Conventions at the Hyatt Jacksonville, but we refuse to use the hotel while it is under a boycott. The hotel should have done the right thing by bringing back its staff instead of terminating them during a public health crisis. Companies like Westmont — which benefited from COVID relief funds — should be held accountable for its treatment of hospitality workers who continue to be left behind in the recovery,” said George Thurlow, Florida Young Democrats President.

“It is disappointing that the Hyatt Jacksonville mass terminated their staff during the pandemic. The AFL-CIO has chosen to withdraw all our business from the hotel until restoration of workers’ jobs has been secured. This isn’t what we expect to happen in Florida. We expect Westmont to respect workers and call them back as business returns,” said Russell Harper, North Florida CLC President, AFL CIO.

Other hotels owned by Westmont Hospitality terminated workers during the pandemic. Pan Pacific Vancouver (Canada) terminated nearly 100 long-term staff, most of them women of color. The hotel has refused to bring them back as business recovers. A former worker filed a lawsuit against the hotel over wrongful terminations last year; the lawsuit was given the green light by a British Columbia Supreme Court judge to proceed as a class action.

Affiliates of Westmont Hospitality took over $48 million in publicly funded COVID-19 relief funds across North America.

Media contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356

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