As Tourism Bounces Back, Pacific Gateway Workers Hold Mass Protest Marking Year-long Strike

Hotel refuses to return 143 terminated staff to pre-pandemic jobs

Richmond, BC — Pacific Gateway hotel workers and community allies rallied today, to commemorate one year of being on strike. Workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been on the picket line every day since May 3, 2021, to fight back against mass terminations and economic rollbacks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacific Gateway terminated 143 staff while the hotel was used as a federal quarantine site. The majority of affected workers are women, some with up to 45 years of service. The federal government left the hotel earlier this year after workers urged them to move.

The mass action at Pacific Gateway comes on the heels of a settlement of the year-long Hilton Metrotown labour dispute. Unlike Pacific Gateway, Hilton Metrotown agreed to a process to return 97 workers terminated during the pandemic to their jobs. Dozens of other unionized hotels across B.C. have made similar commitments to protect workers’ jobs.

The 380-room Pacific Gateway, owned by PHI Hotel Group, fired a majority of its employees while the hotel was used to quarantine travellers. That included 90% of its housekeeping staff, many of whom are women of colour. One of the affected room attendants filed a human rights complaint against the hotel last year on behalf of 90 terminated women on the basis of sex and race discrimination.

Ravinder Binning, a room attendant who served the hotel for 17 years: “Hilton Metrotown finally agreed to return their long-term workers to their jobs after a year-long lockout, and many other hotels did the same thing months ago. What’s wrong with Pacific Gateway? It’s shocking to think how all other hotels are set to make a comeback this summer with travellers coming to B.C. as restrictions ease, but Pacific Gateway still refuses to bring us, their loyal long-term staff, back. We’re the ones who made this hotel successful and we’re not going to give up. That’s why I’m on the picket line, determined to get my job back!”

Heriberta Ramirez, a banquet captain of 30 years at the Pacific Gateway hotel: “We’ve been on strike for a year now. Pacific Gateway needs to wake up! I can’t believe we are still on the picket line as other hotel workers across the province are being recalled to their jobs. This hotel has been serving hotel guests since the pandemic started. Pacific Gateway should be ashamed for treating us workers with disrespect. At a time when there is a labour shortage, this hotel should be returning us to work.”

For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]

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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.

Hilton Metrotown Workers Win Contract Ending B.C.’s Longest Hotel Lockout 

97 Terminated Staff Win Right to Return to Jobs

Burnaby, B.C. — Hilton Metrotown hotel workers locked out since April 15, 2021, voted today to ratify a new contract by a 98% yes vote. The vote to approve this groundbreaking three-year collective bargaining agreement ends the picket line outside of the hotel and returns staff to their jobs. The 391-day lockout at Hilton Metrotown has been the longest hotel lockout in B.C.’s history.

Hilton Metrotown workers won full recall rights for 97 terminated workers without loss of seniority or wages. Reinstating workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic was a top issue during the labour dispute. The new agreement preserves housekeeping jobs and restores daily room cleaning which will help ensure safer workloads and improve guest experience. Other achievements include wage increases plus a special bonus, protection of union health and pension benefits, new protection for gratuities, and stronger recall protections for the future. The new collective agreement expires on May 31, 2025.

Liza Secretaria, a night auditor and union bargaining committee member from Hilton Metrotown: “I feel so proud of myself and my co-workers. We went through so much together during the lockout and the pandemic, but we’re stronger than ever now that we have fought for our co-workers to return and won a fair contract. Thank you to everyone who supported us. I am very excited to return to my job and serve guests again. We have shown Hilton Metrotown and other hotels in B.C. that hotel workers will stand up for respect and justice to raise standards in the industry.”

Sergio Moyer, Guest Services Lead and union bargaining committee member from Hilton Metrotown: “I’m so proud of the solidarity of our members, the community, and the labour movement for their support and strength in achieving this win. We’re ready to return to the Hilton Metrotown to do what we do best: serving our guests. Today marks a monumental day for our union as we’ve been fighting on the picket line for 391 days straight. We are overjoyed with the response to the ratification and results.”

Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40: “Hilton Metrotown workers stayed united on the picket line for over a year, truly exemplifying the meaning of solidarity. This was a hard-fought victory and the new contract sets us on a positive path with the hotel. Workers mobilized massive community support to boycott the hotel and sent a strong message to the hospitality industry that no worker should be treated like they’re disposable.”

Across B.C., workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have won the right to return to their pre-pandemic jobs. With a settlement secured at Hilton Metrotown, the Pacific Gateway Hotel remains an outlier. Local 40 will hold a rally to mark the one-year long strike at Pacific Gateway Hotel on May 12, 2022. Pacific Gateway terminated 70% of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and demanded drastic rollbacks similar to what workers fought back at Hilton Metrotown.

Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]

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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.

Pacific Gateway Hotel Workers Mark 1-Year Strike with Mass Action

Richmond, BC Pacific Gateway hotel workers will rally Thursday to commemorate one year of being on strike. Workers have been on the picket line every day, through rain, snow, and heat, since May 3, 2021, to fight back against mass terminations and economic rollbacks. During the pandemic, Pacific Gateway terminated 143 staff, mostly women and some with up to 45 years of service, while the hotel was used as a federal quarantine site. The federal government left the hotel earlier this year after workers urged them to move. 

While a tentative agreement with Hilton Metrotown has been reached to resolve that year-long labour dispute, Pacific Gateway, owned by PHI Hotel Group, has refused to recall terminated staff to the hotel.  

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

WHERE: 5300 Cessna Drive, Richmond BC

WHEN: Thursday, May 12 at 5:00 P.M.

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

Striking Pacific Gateway hotel workers and UNITE HERE Local 40 representatives will be made available for interviews.

For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]

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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.

Breaking: Locked out Hilton Metrotown Workers Reach Tentative Agreement

Burnaby, B.C. — Hilton Metrotown workers locked out one year ago reached a tentative agreement at 1AM this morning after two days of mediation. Workers will vote to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement tomorrow, Wednesday May 11. If approved, the labour dispute will end on Wednesday and a process for returning to work will begin on Thursday.

More details to come after ratification.

For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected] or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

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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.

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