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.
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.
For more information contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]
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.
Contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]
*This has been updated from the original version.
New agreement includes a $3 increase and significant medical improvements.
Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi
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.”
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
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