Job Posting: Union Organizer

UNITE HERE Local 40, BC’s union for hospitality workers, is seeking a Hotel Worker Organizer to recruit, train and mobilize workers to win strong workplace standards. We are committed to developing rank-and-file leadership, organizing the unorganized, and to building a strong, fighting labour union. Local 40 is a growing local union with a diverse membership working in hotels, food service, airports, and resource camps across the province.

Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to working for social justice through a strong a labour movement. The successful applicant we are looking for is driven, courageous, open to feedback, hard working, and a fighter with a deep commitment to social change. The position entails irregular hours including work in the evenings and weekends.

Responsibilities include:

  • Identify, recruit and develop worker-leaders through one-on-one communication;
  • Build and maintain active worker committees;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to move workers to take collective action and build power;
  • Identify and meet with worker leaders to recruit and train them as union leaders for their particular workplace campaign, in union and non-union settings;
  • Promote rank and file leadership development;
  • Identify workplace issues, learn the relevant collective agreement language, and pursue resolution through the grievance and arbitration procedures;
  • Move workers into action on the shop floor to enforce their rights;
  • Oversee and do grievance handling with worker leaders and organizers;
  • Help to organize and run meetings and large actions;
  • Frequently attend multiple distant locations within a short time span in order to meet with workers at their homes and other sites. Many of these locations will not be easily accessible by public transit.

 Qualifications:

  • Dedication to social and economic justice, and specifically to building a strong labor movement;
  • Demonstrated skill in developing leaders, building unity within a diverse group, and inspiring others to take action;
  • Demonstrated ability in running, planning and driving campaigns and goals;
  • Demonstrated ability to use independent judgment within the context of an overall plan and structure;
  • Excellent communication skills in one-on-one and group settings;
  • Good organizational and administrative skills, including basic computer skills;
  • Willing and able to travel to appropriate work sites, and to work long and irregular work hours;
  • Must have valid driver’s license.

 Job Requirements:

1 year of experience as a labour/union organizer, rank and file union activist, and/or experience working with the student, immigrant, LGBTQ+, and/or environmental activist communities.

Salary: $60,000 starting salary but commensurate with experience.

Contact: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume outlining relevant experience and including references to mtravis@unitehere.org. Only candidates meeting all requirements will be contacted for interviews.

Press Release – Three Years on Strike: Hotel Workers Rally to Mark Anniversary of Fight to Change Hotel Industry

Radisson Blu YVR Workers say “No More” to disrespectful treatment and precarious hotel jobs

 

Richmond, BC – TODAY striking workers at Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport & The Deck, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, held a mass demonstration to commemorate three years of being on strike. Labour and community allies from across Metro Vancouver joined the rallying workers in solidarity, including Sussanne Skidmore, President of the BC Federation of Labour; Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President; Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre; Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough; and Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington.

Strikers are fighting for recall of unjustly terminated staff, job security, and family-supporting wages and benefits. Although negotiations between the Union and the management have resumed, no new dates are scheduled.

During the pandemic, the hotel (formerly named Pacific Gateway) received millions of dollars from the federal government for the property to be used as a federal quarantine site for travellers. The employer terminated over 70% of staff – mostly women and people of colour with decades on the job – instead of agreeing to recall workers as business returned.  In response, remaining workers went on strike on May 3, 2021. A terminated room attendant filed a human rights complaint against the hotel on behalf of 89 women for wrongful firings on the basis of sex and racial discrimination.

“I’m angry that management terminated 143 of my co-workers, some with over 40 years on the job. We are a family here and since we walked out on strike, we still feel devalued for what we contribute to our hotel. What we are fighting for is not only for ourselves, but for all workers in the hospitality industry; if our hotel gets away with treating us this way, other employers will do the same,” said Dulce Pereyras-Verma, a striking Guest Services Agent. “BC’s tourism industry is important, and we are the ones who make it run. We are fighting for a contract with secure jobs and for real change in how workers like us – mostly women – are treated, so our profession is respected.”

Last year, the employer admitted to over a dozen violations of labour law during the protracted labour dispute when using impermissible replacement workers to perform tasks at the hotel. The Union recently filed more charges against the company at the BC Labour Relations Board.

“They threw our experienced staff away like garbage,” said Pardeep Thandi, a striking Room Attendant. “I worked at the hotel for 27 years, and I’ve now had to find a new job to support my daughters in university. Together with my co-workers we will keep fighting for our rights – these are our jobs, and we will not give up.”

The BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress have issued a boycott of the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and the Deck. The City of Richmond has resolved not to support events or promote business with the hotel until a resolution is reached with the workers.

Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and The Deck are majority owned by Sukhminder Rai and operated by his hotel arm PHI Hotel Group. The company is currently being sued over allegations of civil fraud and civil misappropriation of almost $16 million in funds related to its management of Westin Calgary Airport Hotel when that hotel was also used as a federal quarantine site.

 

BoycottRadissonBluYVR.ca

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40.com

Press Release: Immigrant Worker Fired After Fighting Against Wage Discrimination at YVR Airport

Union calls on Vancouver Airport Authority to fire MGM Food Services

 

Richmond, BC – A YVR Vancouver Airport worker who signed a mass petition calling for a $25 airport living wage and encouraged co-workers to sign was fired shortly afterward by a YVR operator. UNITE HERE Local 40 is raising concerns about the action taken against the non-union worker and urging Vancouver Airport Authority to cut ties with the operator, MGM Food Services.

MGM Food Services operates two A&W locations at YVR Airport. On April 4, Ann John, a worker at the A&W outlet located in the international terminal, signed the petition calling for a $25 living wage at YVR. Ann is a new Canadian working towards her permanent resident status.

Three days later, MGM Food Services held an all-employee meeting where they warned employees about the petition which was being circulated among airport workers. At the meeting, management learned that Ms. John had added her name to the petition and had spoken to her co-workers about it as well. The company also posted a notice on the employee bulletin board cautioning workers about the $25 living wage petition.

Two weeks afterwards, she was told by management she was not a good fit for the organization and was fired. Ms. John had not been disciplined for any reason during her year and a half employment. Ms. John was one of the hundreds who signed the petition to YVR CEO Tamara Vrooman calling for a $25 living wage at the airport. Her termination followed a rally at YVR organized by Local 40 on April 19, the same day the petition was delivered to the Vancouver Airport Authority. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, along with fellow labour allies, joined rallying airport workers in support of their fight to end wage discrimination at YVR.

“If a food operator refused to serve a customer because of the color of their skin, they would be evicted. MGM fired someone just weeks after standing up against wage discrimination. They shouldn’t be allowed to operate in the airport. They fired her, now YVR needs to fire them,” stated Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “YVR was recently awarded the top airport in North America, yet no worker at this world-class airport should feel like they cannot express their views about earning a living wage.”

UNITE HERE Local 40 has informed the Vancouver Airport Authority of the unjust termination. The Union demands the Airport Authority ensure Ann is reinstated to her position and takes steps to cut ties with MGM Food Servies for its actions.

 

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40.com

Media Advisory: Mass Rally to Mark 3-Year Strike of Radisson Blu YVR Workers

Demonstration to be held Friday, May 3, at 12PM

 

Richmond, BC — Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport workers will hold a rally this Friday to commemorate three years of being on strike. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have walked the picket line daily since May 2021 to fight for recall of unjustly terminated staff, job security, family-supporting wages, and better working conditions. During the pandemic, management terminated 143 long-term staff, mostly women and people of colour, while the hotel (formerly Pacific Gateway) raked in millions of taxpayer dollars when it was used as a federal quarantine site.

The BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress have issued a boycott of the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and the Deck until the owner agrees to rehire workers and settles a fair contract. The City of Richmond has resolved not to support events or promote business with the hotel until a resolution is reached with the workers.

 

WHO: Striking hotel workers and community allies from across the lower mainland.

WHERE: Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport, 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond BC

WHEN: Friday, May 3 at 12:00 P.M.

VISUALS: Hotel workers and community allies chanting, marching, and speaking with colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns. Striking hotel workers and UNITE HERE

 

Local 40 representatives will be available for interviews in English and Punjabi.

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40.com

Media Advisory: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to Join Workers’ Rally to End Wage Discrimination at YVR Vancouver Airport

Nearly 2000 workers sign petition to YVR, call for a living wage for all YVR workers

 

Richmond, BC – This FRIDAY, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will rally with YVR Vancouver International Airport workers in their fight to end wage discrimination at YVR, recently-rated the best airport in North America. A petition will be delivered to YVR, signed by nearly 2000 workers at the airport, which calls on the Vancouver Airport Authority to ensure a $25 living wage is paid to all YVR workers.

The Vancouver Airport Authority is a certified Living Wage Employer, yet over a thousand contracted food service, retail, and other workers at the airport are not covered by their living wage policy, with many earning minimum wage or just above. According to employment data obtained by the Union, YVR workers who are not covered by the living wage are 78% women, and most are immigrants. This is in stark contrast to YVR’s own staff, who earn a living wage and are majority male, and 65% white.

Yesterday, YVR Airport was named the top airport in North America by Skytrax. In a quote from Tamara Vrooman, YVR President and CEO, she states “Regaining our top spot as Best Airport in North America is a result of the dedication and hard work of our employees and everyone working here at YVR to serve travellers and our community.” At tomorrow’s rally, YVR’s low-paid workers, joined by labour and community allies, are standing up against YVR Airport’s wage discrimination for the respect and fair pay they deserve.

Last month, over 200 YVR Airport food service workers voted 85% in favour of strike action in their fight for a living wage. The impact of job actions at the world-class airport may cause disruptions as the busy travel season approaches.

 

WHAT: Rally to End Wage Discrimination at YVR

WHO: MP Jagmeet Singh with YVR Airport workers, joined by fellow hospitality workers and community allies

WHEN: FRIDAY, April 19

TIME: 2:00 PM

LOCATION: YVR International Arrivals (street level), 3211 Grant McConachie Wy, Richmond

VISUALS: MP Jagmeet Singh, airport workers and allies chanting, marching, and speaking with colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns.

 

 

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40.com