Vancouver, B.C.— Major BC unions are upping the ante on its boycott and threatening to lock Hilton Metrotown out of any business in 2022 unless the hotel settles the labour dispute with its locked out workers by June 30. At a press conference today, UNITE HERE Local 40 and BCGEU joined Hilton Vancouver Metrotown hotel workers on the picket line to announce the new pledge which will go into effect if the hotel fails to resolve the dispute this month.
This unprecedented move by prominent union customers could cost the hotel up to $2 million next year—in addition to lost business this year—if Hilton Metrotown fails to resolve the lockout and commit to reinstate workers fired during the pandemic.
In early April, major union customers pledged to withhold their business until the Hilton Metrotown guaranteed workers a right to return to their jobs. Hotel management locked out workers on April 15 after firing 97 long-term workers. Burnaby City Council also adopted a resolution to support Hilton Metrotown workers and withdraw business from the hotel. Now, unions have decided that if the Hilton Metrotown does not reinstate the terminated workers and resolve the labour dispute by June 30, 2021, they will relocate their business for the entire calendar year of 2022.
Robert Demand, Executive Director of UNITE HERE Local 40: “Hilton Metrotown workers have been locked out for six weeks, and the hotel has yet to demonstrate a willingness to resolve the lockout or commit to reinstate their long-term workers. Our members are relentlessly fighting back. Thanks to BCGEU and our other strong union allies who have agreed to this new pledge which escalates the boycott to make sure the hotel returns workers to their jobs. Other hotel employers considering the path that Hilton Metrotown has taken should think again.”
Stephanie Smith, President of BCGEU: “The way the Hilton Metrotown has treated Unite Here members during the COVID-19 pandemic is despicable. As BC’s restart plan moves ahead no one should be okay with hotel workers being left behind. Before the pandemic the BCGEU spent $500,000 dollars each year at the Hilton Metrotown and we would have been booking again as soon as the restrictions were lifted but we will not support a business that mistreats workers. On behalf of the 82,000 members of the BCGEU, I urge the Hilton Metrotown to get back to the table, negotiate a fair deal, and bring these workers back to their jobs once the pandemic is over.”
Sergio Moyer, locked out Guest Services lead: “It’s unbelievable the depths to which Hilton Metrotown has gone to get rid of my co-workers who have dedicated their lives to building this hotel. For management to still lock us out for this long despite many customers moving to other hotels, including Lufthansa, is an all-time low. That’s why we’ve decided to escalate the boycott with this new pledge. I’m grateful to BCGEU and my union siblings for standing beside us in this fight – together, we will continue to fight back until the Hilton Metrotown returns workers back to their jobs.”
Currently, BCGEU, CUPE BC, HEU, MoveUp, BCTF, PSAC BC, CUPE BC, UFCW 1518, IBEW Local 258, BC Insulators Local 118, Boilermakers Lodge 359, and Brewery Winery and Distillery Workers Local 300 have joined the pledge.
Hilton Metrotown’s treatment of its long-term staff is part of a broader industry attack on hotel workers. Hotel employers across BC have used mass pandemic firings to roll back decades of economic gains made by hotel workers, disproportionately impacting women and immigrants.
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.