Vancouver City Councillor and Downtown Hotel Workers Call for Investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver

For Immediate Release:

VANCOUVER, BC – In a press conference yesterday, Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and downtown hotel workers called for an investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver’s mistreatment of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group called for scrutiny into hotel management’s refusal to recall nearly 100 workers, primarily women of colour,  permanently laid-off during the pandemic or the approximately 90 on-call staff who have not worked since March 2020. Instead, the hotel has recently hired dozens of new workers.

Councillor Boyle and UNITE HERE Local 40 members from Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront, and other downtown hotels demanded accountability on behalf of Pan Pacific Vancouver workers. They raised concerns over the hotel’s resistance to bringing back affected staff, particularly during a labour shortage, and whether the hotel’s owner respects workers’ right to have a union.

Councillor Boyle announced she will host a public event in September to hear from affected workers about their experience at Pan Pacific Vancouver.

Pan Pacific Vancouver workers voted to unionize in August 2020 over mass terminations. Since then, workers have faced management’s refusal to return long-term staff to their jobs, unfair labour practices, and delays in bargaining a first contract. A former concierge filed a class action lawsuit against the hotel over wrongful terminations last year; a BC Supreme Court judge has certified the lawsuit as a class action. Separately, the BC Labour Relations Board found that hotel management committed unfair labour practices and violated the Labour Code by refusing to recognize the inclusion of on-call workers in the bargaining unit.

The hotel is owned by Mississauga-based Westmont Hospitality Group, an international owner and operator of hotels.

Quotes:

Christine Boyle, Vancouver City Councillor: “As visitors return to Vancouver, we need to make sure hotel workers’ rights are respected. That’s why I’m standing with hotel workers out of concern for what is happening at Pan Pacific Vancouver. The stories I’ve heard are unconscionable, especially as it impacts low wage workers of colour.  There should be an investigation into how workers are being treated at this hotel. I believe strongly that the rights of workers must be upheld in the City of Vancouver.”

Stephanie Dan, former Pan Pacific Vancouver room attendant: “There are so many of us who haven’t been brought back since the pandemic hit.  We should be first in line to get our jobs back, but the hotel is hiring other people to do our jobs. I support an investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver because I want justice for me and my-co-workers.”

Naden Abenes, Hyatt Regency room attendant: “What is happening at Pan Pacific? Why won’t they do what other downtown hotels have done and bring back workers who gave years of service to this hotel? Pan Pacific workers deserve what other Vancouver hotel workers have won – to have their jobs back and to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Matt de Marchi, Local 40 representative: “Workers are telling us, ‘They are hiring anybody – people with no hotel experience at all’, rather than bring back the former employees who voted for a union. Management is telling workers that they cannot find any staff, but they will not call back the people who used to work here.”

 

Contact: Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

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Media Advisory: Vancouver City Councillor and Downtown Hotel Workers to hold Press Conference calling for Investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver’s Actions during Pandemic

For Immediate Release:

Press conference to be held outside Pan Pacific Vancouver, Thursday, July 28, 5PM

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver’s hospitality workers are raising alarms about mistreatment of staff at Pan Pacific Vancouver.

Today, July 28 at 5:00pm, downtown hospitality workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, and Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle will hold a press conference to call for an investigation into Pan Pacific Vancouver’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel terminated nearly 100 hotel workers, primarily women of colour, during the height of the public health crisis. They are among 200 people who management is refusing to bring back to their pre-pandemic jobs. In the meantime, the hotel is hiring dozens of new workers a month for positions throughout the hotel.

Pan Pacific Vancouver workers voted to unionize in August 2020 over mass terminations. Since then, workers have faced management’s refusal to return long-term staff to their jobs, unfair labour practices, and delays in bargaining a first contract.

Date:   Today — Thursday, July 28, 2022

Time: 5:00 PM

Where: In front of Pan Pacific Vancouver, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC.

Visuals: Dozens of hospitality workers and their supporters holding red and white signs.

Contact: Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

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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.

Airline Catering Workers at YVR Airport Issue 72-Hour Strike Notice

Vancouver — Airline catering workers who are employed by Gate Gourmet and serve dozens of airlines at Vancouver International Airport have issued a 72-hour strike notice after voting 98% in favour of strike action. Potential strike action could impact Air Canada, Air France, and KLM and other airline clients of Gate Gourmet. UNITE HERE Local 40 filed the strike notice, which authorizes workers to take job actions, up to and including a strike, after a series of fruitless bargaining sessions. The strike vote comes amidst staff shortages at YVR Airport, resulting in heavier workloads for employees, and delays for travellers.

While big airlines such as Air Canada gave $10 million in executive bonuses after receiving a $5.9 billion bailout from the Canadian government, contracted airline catering workers were left behind. Protracted pandemic layoffs led to a significant reduction in airline catering staff, and staffing levels have yet to recover as air travel has rapidly resurged. Airline catering workers prepare meals for pre-flight assembly, load aircraft trolleys with beverages, snacks, and duty-free items, and deliver, load, and unload directly on the aircraft with critical turnaround times to ensure flights depart on time.

“Airline catering workers have been working day in and day out, serving travellers through the pandemic. As tourism came back this year and consumer prices hit 31-year highs, we are overworked and underpaid. We’ve attempted to address these issues in good faith with the company, but they continue to propose low wage increases and cuts to our health benefits. This has left us with no other choice but to issue a strike notice,” said Kiran Hundal, a Gate Gourmet tray assembly worker and bargaining committee member.

UNITE HERE Local 40 members at Gate Gourmet at the Vancouver International Airport are part of the world’s largest independent provider of airline catering, which serves about 250 million meals a year to customers internationally.

Media Contact: 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, construction camps, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Media Advisory: Airline Catering Workers at YVR Airport to Hold Press Conference 

Vancouver, B.C.Airline catering workers who are employed by Gate Gourmet and serve dozens of airlines at Vancouver International Airport, will hold a press conference today, July 27, at YVR Airport. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, are currently in bargaining with management over wage increases and better healthcare benefits. While big airlines such as Air Canada gave $10 million in executive bonuses after receiving a $5.9 billion bailout from the Canadian government, contracted airline catering workers have been left behind. 

WHO:        Over a dozen airline catering workers and allies

WHERE: Vancouver International Airport (Air Canada Check-in at Terminal M – Main Terminal), 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond

WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, July 27, 11 a.m

VISUALS:     Airline catering workers chanting and speaking with colourful banners, signs, and bullhorns.

 Media availability with UNITE HERE Local 40 representatives and airline catering workers.

For interviews immediately or upon request, please contact:
Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]m

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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.

Don’t Mourn, Organize! (Local 40 featured in TradeTalk)

UNITE HERE Local 40 is on the move!  Over the last two years, we have had roughly 500 new camp and culinary workers join Local 40 on projects throughout Northern B.C.

Local 40’s camp organizing is featured in the latest edition of TradeTalk Magazine – click on: “Don’t Mourn, Organize!” to learn more.