UNITE HERE! Canada Responds to COVID-19 Crisis

On March 30, 2020, UNITE HERE leadership from across Canada held a tele-press conference to speak on the unprecedented economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on workers nationwide. Listen to a complete recording of the conference. For press coverage, see below:

Canadian PressHospitality workers ‘hit first and hit hardest’ says union seeking more support

CTV Vancouver (with video) – Hospitality workers call for financial support in face of mass layoffs

CBC – Hospitality workers’ union says 90% of members have lost their jobs in past 2 weeks

News1130 – BC hospitality workers’ union calls government wage subsidy approach a ‘bailout for businesses’

CTV Toronto Nearly 90% of hospitality workers will lose jobs because of covid-19 pandemic, union predicts

Global News – COVID-19: Hospitality union offers help as hotels considered as makeshift hospitals

Victoria News – Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TELE-PRESS CONFERENCE (for Monday, March 30)

RSVP: https://forms.gle/oLF7jfgZyDVfQ5Ls7

Hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE to host tele-press conference on impact of COVID-19 on industry’s frontline workers in Canada

WHAT: Tele-press conference with UNITE HERE Canada union leadership to discuss the unprecedented economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on workers nationwide in industries as diverse as hotels, stadiums, airlines and food service. With mortgages, utilities and rent coming due April 1, UNITE HERE Canada calls on public officials to take immediate action to ensure that hospitality workers, like all Canadian workers, can continue to live and pay their bills, and that those still working are recognized as essential employees.

WHO:
• Ian Robb, UNITE HERE Local 47 President and UNITE HERE Canadian Director
• Zailda Chan, UNITE HERE Local 40 President, Vancouver
• Guled Warsame, UNITE HERE Local 75 President, Toronto
• Kevin Porter, UNITE HERE Local 272 President, Ottawa

WHEN: Monday, March 30 at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT

WHERE: Media must RSVP for call-in information. RSVP here: https://forms.gle/oLF7jfgZyDVfQ5Ls7

WHY: UNITE HERE represents over 18,000 hotel and hospitality workers across six locals in Canada. Hospitality workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis from day one.  Their work – cleaning rooms and public places, cooking and serving food, welcoming guests, carrying bags – puts them in daily contact with the public and in areas with very high risk of viral transmission.

Their workplaces – hotels, casinos, airports, arenas, universities, schools and remote resource camps – are among the first and worst hit by closures and layoffs. The Hotel Association of Canada estimates that 80 to 90 percent of the nation’s hotel industry will close this year. That means 200,000 to 250,000 hotel workers are losing jobs, the majority of them women, single parents, immigrants and people of color.

UNITE HERE Canada leadership will provide updates on the industry, call for immediate solutions, and take questions.

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UNITE HERE is a labor union that represents over 300,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in North America. UNITE HERE represents over 18,000 hotel and hospitality workers across six locals in Canada.

Press Release: Rosewood Hotel Georgia staff highlight disparity at Canada’s #1 hotel

VANCOUVER – Staff at Canada’s top-rated hotel, Rosewood Hotel Georgia, held a boisterous demonstration yesterday in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  Nearly three hundred workers and supporters gathered outside the luxury hotel to protest working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard.  The hotel has been rated the #1 hotel in the country, with rooms priced at $550 a night and higher.

photo: Michael YC Tseng

“We provide a very high level of service at our hotel and have been consistently recognized for our quality.  We need jobs and wages that match the excellent service we provide to our guests every day,” said James Sugden, a cook at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Hotel Georgia room attendants, cooks, servers, stewards, and other staff, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, were joined by a large contingent of hotel workers from nearby downtown Vancouver hotels as well as community and labour supporters.  They called on the owner, Pacific Reach Properties, to raise the bar when it comes to treatment of workers, especially women, in their hotel and restaurant establishments.

In 2017, Pacific Reach Properties bought the Hotel Georgia, described by one publication as an “adult playground.”  Several female staff recently reported concerns about how the company handles harassment experienced by women on the job.  The Union has reached an agreement with hotel operator, Rosewood Hotels, who has committed to address specific concerns about discrimination and harassment in an effort to improve the working environment.  Terms of the settlement are confidential.

Hotel Georgia workers want industry-settings wages and job standards commensurate to the elevated level of service they are expected to provide.  Some staff report the need to work second or third jobs to make ends meet and the need for expanded access to medical benefits.  Other issues include the lack of supplies needed to perform their work and additional concerns about safety.  The Union is currently in contract bargaining with the company to provide the best standard in the city and pressing for further safety measures, such as panic buttons and bans on guests who sexually harass staff.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia is one of five downtown hotels currently in contract bargaining with UNITE HERE Local 40 this summer.  There are approximately 1,500 hotel workers represented in the five hotels.

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For more information, contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

Vancouver hotel workers ratify new contract

Vancouver hotel workers last week ratified a four-year contract with the Greater Vancouver Hotel Employers Association, gaining improved pensions and benefits, higher pay, and reductions in housekeeping workload.

Scenes from a Showdown at the Hyatt

A surge of unionized room cleaners claiming their jobs are unnecessarily crippling sent a message to management.

Elected leaders support Hyatt housekeepers, join demonstration

A labour dispute at some of the city’s most-luxurious hotels has dragged on for over four months now.

Hotel workers steps up contract fight

Skip Hotel Room Cleaning? That’s Not ‘Green’ Says Union

Workers protest option given guests at luxury hotels, launch boycott of Vancouver Hyatt.

Toronto Hyatt workers strike at TIFF host hotel

Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival have more than red carpets and galas to worry about as the host hotel deals with a labour dispute.

Hyatt Faces Strikes, Protests in Cities Across North America

Multi-city strikes at Hyatt properties in Los Angeles, Honolulu, Chicago, and Toronto this week represent a major escalation in a labor dispute involving Hyatt and its billionaire owners — the Pritzker Family — who have been the target of a number of major demonstrations in more than a dozen cities across North America this summer.