Statement by Zailda Chan, UNITE HERE Local 40 President, regarding B.C.’s extension of temporary COVID-19 layoff provisions

“We are incredibly disappointed by the Government’s decision today to extend temporary layoffs and delay severance to help the business community without any protections for workers.  The government had to put 50,000 hotel workers out of work, but with no legal rights to get their jobs back.  Hotel workers are already being permanently terminated as a result of this pandemic.  A wave of terminations may come in September. This decision falls far short of what laid-off workers need to stay connected to their jobs.  The B.C. government needs to act and protect workers – not just businesses.”

Press Release: Laid-off Hospitality Demonstrate, Ask Government – Where is Our Right to Return to Work?

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2020

Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected], or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

VANCOUVER – As the province launched Phase 3 of its restart plan, laid-off hospitality workers demonstrated today outside the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.  Hotel workers are urgently calling on the provincial government to protect those on the verge of losing their jobs due to the pandemic.  The Government had to put 50,000 hotel workers out of work, but with no legal right to get their jobs back.  While the B.C. legislature debates temporary layoff rules this week, thousands of the province’s laid-off hotel workers could face permanent job loss if employers use the pandemic as an excuse to replace them.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia workers protested alongside other area hotel workers who stand to lose the right to keep their jobs unless the government takes action.  With reports that the hotel industry may not recover until 2021 or 2022, hotel workers throughout the province want the government to guarantee they will have the right to return to work as the industry recovers.

Unlike the business-backed proposal to extend temporary layoff and delay severance, UNITE HERE Local 40 is urging the province to legislate protection for workers laid-off due to the pandemic so that they cannot be terminated.  The current rules around temporary layoff do not prevent workers from being fired due to the pandemic.  As the hard-hit hospitality sector begins the long road to recovery, workers spoke at a press conference outside the hotel about what they stand to lose.

“Our contribution to B.C.’s hotel industry is significant. I hope the province does not let workers with years of experience go to the wayside.  The provincial government should make sure that hotel workers who have built this industry are guaranteed the right to get our jobs back as the industry recovers,” said James Milling, a doorman who has worked at Rosewood Hotel Georgia for nine years.

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.

Press Release: Laid-off Workers Hold Caravan, Call for Government Action on Layoff Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2020

Vancouver, BC — On Wednesday, hundreds of laid-off hospitality workers in a caravan of cars honking horns and chanting on foot participated in a demonstration urging provincially and federally elected leaders to ensure employers rehire, not replace, laid-off workers as the economy recovers. With workers facing long-term layoffs in the sector, they risk losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Hotel housekeepers, servers, cooks and other members of UNITE HERE Local 40 led the caravan through the heart of downtown Vancouver.

Over 90% of B.C.’s hospitality workers were laid-off in March due to COVID-19. With travel restrictions and a cancelled convention and cruise season, it could be summer 2021 or later before the hospitality industry recovers. Workers laid-off from hotels like Holiday Inn Downtown, Blue Horizon and high-end hotels like The Wedgewood and Rosewood Hotel Georgia could be terminated if they are not called back to work this summer.  Workers across the province face the same predicament, while non-union workers could find themselves permanently replaced even sooner.

CERB will expire in July and too few hospitality employers are participating in the government’s wage subsidy program. As businesses begin to reopen, unemployed workers are calling on their political leaders to make sure they are not left behind.

“We need Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau to help us get our jobs back and make sure employers don’t use the pandemic to replace us or force us to start over from scratch,” said Darcy Dawson, a laid-off server at the restaurant in Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown Vancouver. “This is my first job where I’ve had better job security and medical and dental benefits. Will all that go to the wayside because of COVID-19?” asked Dawson.

“Holiday Inn Downtown, Blue Horizon Hotel, Wedgewood, Rosewood Hotel Georgia and other unionized workers from hotels across the province could lose their jobs if they are not called back to work by the end of September.  Worse, non-union laid off workers could be replaced tomorrow.  We know the industry will eventually recover.  And when it does, laid-off workers should be first in line to get their jobs back,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

According to a recent poll of British Columbians commissioned by the union, 92% of those surveyed were in broad political support of requiring companies to rehire their workers before replacing them. The same poll found a similarly high level of support for such a requirement where employers receive government relief.

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Media Contacts: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356,[email protected], or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

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.

Media Advisory: Laid-off Hospitality Workers to Participate in Car Caravan in Vancouver, Call on Government to Help Bring Workers Back to Their Jobs

Vancouver—Hospitality workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, will participate in a car caravan demonstration calling on provincially and federally elected leaders to ensure employers rehire—not replace—laid-off workers as the economy recovers. Over 90% of workers in B.C.’s hospitality industry are laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As hotels and other hospitality businesses begin to reopen, workers will call for measures that require employers to rehire laid-off workers before replacing them.

WHO: Hospitality workers joined by community groups and labour unions from across the Lower Mainland.

WHERE: Press Conference at Hyatt Regency Vancouver, 655 Burrard, prior to caravan. (Please note change of location).

WHEN: Wednesday, June 3, 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT

  • 11:45 a.m. PT: Press Conference at Hyatt
  • 12:15 p.m. PT: Vehicles to proceed southward along Burrard Street
  • 1:00 p.m. PT: Car caravan to end

VISUALS: Workers and community allies wearing masks and gloves standing 6 feet apart, chanting and speaking with colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns, while dozens of cars with signs and flags honk and blare loud music along Burrard Street.

Media availability with UNITE HERE Local 40 President Zailda Chan and hospitality workers during press conference.

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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.

Press Release: Kitimat Camp Workers Elated after Reaching Historic Union Contract amidst Pandemic Woes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2020

Kitimat, BC On Monday night, camp workers at Horizon North Crossroads Lodge overwhelmingly ratified a historic union contract with 97% voting in favour.  The agreement will provide 100 percent employer-paid air travel and health care, pension, housekeeping workload protections, seniority, recall rights, and raises that will increase some workers’ wages by 24 percent.

The new agreement with Horizon North covers staff at the front desk, kitchens, and housekeeping departments who serve camp workers at the LNG Canada project site. In November 2019, 85 workers joined UNITE HERE Local 40. Bargaining began in January and concluded with a deal for the 3-year contract last week. Kitimat’s cost of living has skyrocketed in recent years and compounded with the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19, this new contract is timely and life-changing for many.

“I’m very excited about the housekeeping protections that we’ve won. Now we will have a more manageable workload. My kids are going to afford a good life. With more money in my pocket, life will be tremendously better for my family,” said Ingrid Kujendani, housekeeper at Crossroads Lodge.

For Kathy Wallace, who works as a cook, the new contract means she will pocket thousands of dollars more each year: “Thanks to Horizon North for continuing to bargain through COVID-19. I’m so proud that we were able to win this tremendous contract in the middle of the pandemic. Between the wage increases, travel pay, and pension, this is such a huge step forward for us.”

The contract sets a groundbreaking standard in wages and travel for Kitimat camp workers. Local 40 welcomes Horizon North workers, who will join nearly 200 other members from Civeo. The union now represents approximately 300 camp workers in Kitimat and is currently organizing Sodexo workers at Cedar Valley Lodge. 

 

Media 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.