Prince George – Today, Coast Hotel workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and their labour allies held a demonstration at the Coast Inn of the North against the company’s lockout threat. On Tuesday, Coast Hotels issued a 72-hour lockout notice at Coast Inn of the North, Coast Bastion in Nanaimo, and Coast Victoria Harbourside. The move could affect more than 250 workers and their families in three cities as they head into the holiday season.
This escalating labour dispute comes as BC’s hotel industry has enjoyed record revenues in recent years. For months, Coast Hotels has failed to address workers’ demands for livable wage increases, protection from high workloads, an increased pension contribution, and an end to clawbacks of worker’s tips.
“I’ve worked at for Coast for 27 years. I have hip problems and hip surgery coming up. Our workload is so heavy that I take pain killers first thing in the morning just to work. I’m outraged that the company is threatening to lock us out right before Christmas. With what we’re paid, we live almost paycheck to paycheck. A lockout hurts my ability to pay my bills and my mortgage,” said Susan Bishop, a housekeeper at Coast Inn of the North.
Independent of the lockout notice, Laird Cronk, the new president of the BCFED, called for mediation between UNITE HERE Local 40 and Coast Hotels after workers at Nanaimo’s Coast Bastion held a one-day strike on Saturday. The union and the company are currently in mediation this Wednesday and Thursday. The Union has set a deadline of midnight on December 13 to reach a settlement and has called on the labour movement to pull business from the hotels if no deal is reached.
“The labour movement has loyally supported the Coast Inn of the North and we are outraged by the company’s lockout notice. Our support will be a thing of the past if the company continues with this aggressively anti-union action that hurts workers,” said Natalie Fletcher, President of the North Central Labour Council of BC. She continued, “Prince George unions are ready to pull their business from the Coast hotel if a settlement is not reached by midnight on Thursday. If the company locks workers out over the holidays, some of that business may never come back.”
For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]
WHAT: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel members at Coast Bastion Hotel are on a one-day strike.
WHEN: Saturday, December 8, 2018; 6:30AM
WHERE: Coast Bastion Hotel, 11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC
WHO: Approximately 100 hotel housekeepers, housemen, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, food & beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman, maintenance workers and others.
WHY: As of 6:30AM, workers at the Coast Bastion Hotel walked off the job today for a one-day strike. The hotel’s housekeepers, cooks, food and beverage servers, front desk agents, bellman and others – all members of UNITE HERE! Local 40 – are taking strike action after months of bargaining in which Coast Hotels has failed to address demands for decent wage increases, has ignored room attendants crippling workloads, proposed just pennies in pension improvements, and wants to claw back workers’ tips.
Coast Bastion has been rated the brand’s #1 hotel. Nanaimo’s tourism industry has welcomed record numbers of visitors in recent years, in line with cities across British Columbia. While Coast Hotels is reaping the benefits of a tourism boom, the cost of living in Nanaimo is steadily increasing, yet Coast Bastion workers are falling behind.
“The Coast Bastion announced record revenues for several years in a row, yet all of us struggle to get by in Nanaimo. We work hard to make the Coast Bastion the brand’s hotel of the year, and we have walked off the job today to fight for wages and health benefits that we can actually live on,” says Garry Constable, a server at the Coast Bastion.
Coast Bastion is one of three Coast hotels bargaining together under a master agreement. Hotel workers at Coast Victoria Harbourside and Coast Inn of the North have raised similar issues across the chain.
“Too little progress has been made at the negotiating table for months, and we hope this one day strike sends a message to the company to get serious and listen to their staff, stop demanding servers share their tips with management, and start agreeing to safer and more sustainable workload for housekeepers,” say Local 40’s executive director, Robert Demand.
The next round of bargaining is scheduled for December 12-13.
For more information, please contact Octavian Cadabeschi at 604-813-2105 or [email protected]
New agreement includes significant raises and improves staffing
Contact: Octavian Cadabeschi
E-mail: [email protected]
Food service workers at Victoria International Airport (YYJ) represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have ratified a new contract with the airport’s food service provider, Compass Group, by an overwhelming margin. The new agreement end the long, protracted labour dispute and addresses workers’ concerns about low pay and unreasonably high workloads due to understaffing.
The workers, employed at YYJ’s White Spot, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Spinnakers on the Fly, will receive significant raises of up to 24% over the life of the agreement and retroactive bonuses. Most non-tipped workers will soon reach $15/hour by June 1 – well ahead of the BC Government’s scheduled minimum wage increases and ahead of most concession workers at competing airports, like Vancouver International Airport. The new agreement also establishes the first ever pension for food workers at YYJ and includes critical workload protections that will tackle understaffing.
“This is a foundational contract that reflects the hard work our members put into their jobs every day. We can now attract experienced workers to help with the chronic under-staffing and to help our team succeed as our workplace grows,” said Mark Atkins, lead cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.
Over the last 18 months, workers engaged in multiple job actions and demonstrations at YYJ. They were backed by the strong support of union allies, elected officials, community groups and passengers from the Greater Victoria region who demanded that contracted food workers at YYJ not be given second-class treatment.
“For too long, I have felt that my work here at the airport was undervalued. The wage increases and benefits we will receive with this new contract are starting to change that, so that I can afford to stay here and do the work that I love,” said Karlene Kipling, a cook at Spinnakers on the Fly.
The new contract will expire in 2020. YYJ’s contracted workers will continue to press the Victoria Airport Authority and the province to address contract flipping at airports and other institutions in B.C.
November 23, 2018
Nanaimo Hotel Workers Pose Strike as Holiday Season Looms
Workers Ready to Walk Off from Coast Bastion Hotel
Nanaimo – Coast Bastion Hotel workers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. Frustrated with the lack of progress made in contract negotiations with hotel management, the workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, are prepared to take action for better hotel jobs.
B.C.’s tourism industry is booming, creating record profits for hotels. Yet hotel workers across our province are continually struggling to make ends meet, as well as secure medical benefits and liveable pensions. Coast Bastion Hotel workers have been in over a hundred hours of bargaining, yet management has failed to address serious workplace issues.
Coast Bastion workers are seeking a wage increase that reflects the increased cost of living in Nanaimo and a fair pension plan for staff that would keep retired workers out of poverty. Workers are also calling on the company to address heavy housekeeping workloads which increases the risk of injuries for room attendants on a daily basis as well as being detrimental to their long-term health.
While Coast Hotel workers are poised to strike in Nanaimo, workers at other Coast hotels in Victoria, Prince George and Kelowna continue to bargain.
“After nine long days in three different cities across B.C., we’ve tried to negotiate with the company. Coast workers are fed up with the little progress made on wages and pension, and their absolutely disrespectful attitude addressing workload and language changes. The workers’ vote in favor of a strike demonstrates how we stand together in demanding a fair contract,” said Garry Constable, a Shop Steward at Coast Bastion Hotel.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Nanaimo on November 29.