Coast Bastion Hotel Workers to Hold Rally: “No More Pandemic Profiteering!”

Nanaimo, B.C. — Today, October 7, workers are escalating action at the Coast Bastion with a protest to stop hotel management’s attacks on good jobs. This comes after a spirited rally last week at the hotel. With momentum on their side, workers are planning further action if the hotel fails to address their concerns regarding wages, housekeeping workload protections, and job security. In December 2020, Coast Bastion refused to bring long-term staff back to their jobs and instead fired nearly 50 workers. While Coast Bastion seeks to profit from the pandemic, over 1000 BC hospitality workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, won recall rights and protections for union health care and pension, in a four-year agreement with Hospitality Industrial Relations.

WHAT: Coast Bastion hotel workers and allies to hold protest. 

WHERE: Coast Bastion Hotel, 11 Bastion St., Nanaimo

WHEN: Thursday, October 7, 5:30 p.m

VISUALS:     Hotel workers and supporters chanting in megaphones and holding colourful leaflets, banners, and signs.

Media availability with workers and UNITE HERE Local 40 representatives.

For additional information, please contact Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected]40.com 

#BCUnequalWomen
www.bcunequalwomen.org 

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service, camp, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Job Postings: Organizer and Campaign Researcher

Organizer – Vancouver

UNITE HERE Local 40, BC’s union for hospitality workers, is seeking an experienced organizer to work locally in Vancouver on aggressive campaigns. Organizers work with volunteers and unorganized workers to build the leadership and solidarity necessary to build a progressive and strong labour union.

UNITE HERE is a progressive labour union, representing more than 270,000 workers in the hotel and food service industries across North America. These industries employ large numbers of women, recent immigrants and people of colour. For more information on UNITE HERE, please visit www.unitehere.org

Innovative organizing campaigns, deep rank-and-file member engagement and leadership development, as well as our strong training program make UNITE HERE an exciting place to create change and build power with workers in the service industry.

UNITE HERE’s goal is to not only organize non-union workers and win campaigns, but also to train effective progressive labour leaders and organizers who can develop creative and strategic campaigns to change the economic balance of power in North America.

Job Requirements:

– Commitment to fight for justice,

– Experience organizing workers, in particular within non-union environments,

– Experience in communication a media relation work,

– Experience in volunteer recruitment and coordination,

– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to move workers to take collective action and build power.

– Ability to carry out goals and meet timelines while demonstrating a high level of proven leadership and independent judgment within the context of an overall plan and structure;

– Bilingual desired (Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, or Punjabi)

– Willingness to work long hours, nights and weekends

– Valid driver’s license and own car.

– Previous experience as an organizer in the student, immigrant, LGBT, or environmental movement is valued.

Applications open immediately. Please send a cover letter and resume. Deadline November 1st, 2021.

Salary: $50,000.00 per year


Campaign Researcher – Vancouver

UNITE HERE Local 40 is seeking a talented Campaign Researcher to conduct corporate and industry research and analysis to carry out campaigns focused on winning economic justice for BC’s hospitality workers. UNITE HERE Local 40 is B.C.’s hospitality workers’ union and is leading the fight to organize the unorganized and at the forefront of campaigns for workers’ rights and quality jobs. 

We represent thousands of hospitality workers working in hotels, foodservice, remote resource camps, airports, and other venues across the province. We have a diverse membership that includes workers from many immigrant communities, and the majority of our members are women. We are affiliated with UNITE HERE, a progressive labour union, representing 300,000 hospitality workers across North America. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Conduct company, industry and real estate research using a wide variety of databases and online sources, as well as field work.  
  • Develop company analyses and adapt them for various audiences (e.g., leadership & staff, workers, investors, political & regulatory bodies, the public)
  • Identify and analyze new development projects in our industries 
  • Communicate and build relationships with a wide variety of players including community organizations, industry representatives, customers, policy makers, and elected officials. 
  • Develop and carry out campaign strategies and tactics
  • Work with UNITE HERE members, organizers, staff, and elected leaders; assist in moving campaigns forward through organizing, leading actions, doing political work, as needed.

Qualifications include:

  • Passion for, and commitment to, fighting for workers’ rights 
  • BA degree and relevant research and/or activist experience (e.g., labour, political, urban planning, or community/campus)
  • Strong analytical skills, writing, computer, and interpersonal/organizing skills
  • Willingness to work long and sometimes irregular hours; some travel will be required.
  • Proficient with database and word processing software
  • Ability to learn quickly, work well on a team, and handle competing priorities with deadlines
  • Driver’s license

UNITE HERE Campaign Researchers have worked in the past as community and union organizers, journalists, urban planners, teachers, and researchers elsewhere.  

Location: Vancouver, BC

Position: Full-time

Contact: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with references, and a writing sample to [email protected].  Resumes without a cover letter or writing sample will not be considered.

Coast Bastion Hotel Workers Protest, Call on Hotel to Stop Using the Pandemic to Eliminate Daily Room Cleaning

Nanaimo, B.C. Today, dozens of Coast Bastion hotel workers and community allies protested at the Coast Bastion to demand the hotel stop using the pandemic to increase workloads. The hotel is seizing the chance to use the pandemic to cut back daily room cleaning, and destroy wages and job security. Coast Bastion hotel workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40. 

Coast Bastion is taking advantage of the pandemic to eliminate the practice of daily room cleaning. Reducing the frequency of cleaning to protect guests not only cuts jobs, but also creates unsafe workloads because housekeepers who are left on the job must service rooms that have gone days without cleaning or sanitation. The elimination of daily room cleaning increases the number of dirty “checkout” rooms a housekeeper must clean.

“I love my job because I get to meet people from around the world, but I feel like my hotel isn’t treating me like I’m human anymore. We housekeepers have always worked very hard but during the pandemic we’re being pushed to do more than ever before. The hotel is using the pandemic to get rid of daily room cleaning, but that just makes rooms dirtier by the time guests check out and take longer to clean. I’m sore all the time and literally hobble back to my car after work. At 59 years old, I can’t keep up with this much longer. It’s inhumane,” said Lori Mcdonald, housekeeper at the Coast Bastion.

Coast Bastion terminated nearly 50 long-term staff in December and refuses to commit to bring them back as business recovers. Recently, over 1000 BC hospitality workers won recall rights and protections for union health care and pension, in a four-year agreement with Hospitality Industrial Relations. As BC’s hotel industry recovers from the pandemic and commits to bring workers back to their jobs, Coast Bastion and other Coast hotels in Victoria and Prince George are leaving workers behind.

UNITE HERE Local 40 launched the BC Unequal Women campaign earlier this year to call attention to how women in the hospitality industry are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Coast Bastion workers, many of them women bearing the brunt of COVID-19, have dedicated years of service to the hotel which has long served as a venue for union meetings and conventions. 

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

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is the hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service, camp, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

BC’s Hospitality Workers Ratify New Contract Across Province, Win Extended Recall Rights Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic

Over 1000 hospitality workers in 14 cities win standard-setting extended recall rights, protections for union health care and pension

Vancouver, BC — Over 1000 hospitality workers in hotels, motels, pubs, and liquor stores across 14 communities in BC overwhelmingly voted by 80% to ratify a new four-year agreement with Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR). This contract includes an extension of recall rights for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic — through to July 1, 2023 or when the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the pandemic is over. After an 18-month effort, BC’s hospitality workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have achieved a new standard securing the right of workers to return to their jobs as business recovers.

Workers fought to push back against an industry attack to replace their good living wage jobs with those at minimum wage and eliminate union health and pension benefits. HIR employers finally agreed to extend recall rights for all properties. Local 40 members only agreed to settle if their pension, health care, severance pay, and workload were protected. As well as winning unlimited recall rights to cover future crises such as pandemics and natural disasters, they won longer recall protection for regular seasonal layoffs, increasing from 6 months to 12. 

Workers at several HIR properties, such as Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Holiday Inn Vancouver, organized and participated in rallies earlier this year to protest the industry’s attempt to impose deep concessions which would have rolled back years of hard-won gains. UNITE HERE Local 40 called on HIR to find a path forward to address the impact of the pandemic on hospitality workers and their employers. HIR issued a lockout notice in mid-April, which would have disproportionately impacted women and racialized workers.

Jan Budd, a kitchen helper for 30 years at Holiday Inn & Suites Vancouver Downtown, said: “It feels incredible to have been part of this huge victory, after so many months of fighting against the industry. I can breathe a sigh of relief now knowing that I won’t have to start all over again at minimum wage. HIR finally respected our years of service, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone back at work again as business eventually recovers.”

Fe Taala Casas, a room attendant for 26 years at Inn at the Quay in New Westminster, said: “I’m over the moon. We fought very hard since the pandemic started to make sure all of us would have jobs to go back to once Covid is over, and in the end, we won just that. I’m very proud that we were able to make sure recall rights would be extended, and that we protected our pension and health care. This victory sends a strong signal that other hospitality employers should be making sure no one loses their job because of this pandemic.”

The new contract covers hospitality workers in Vancouver, Victoria, Coquitlam, Richmond, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Abbotsford, Harrison Hot Springs, Kamloops, Castlegar, Port Alberni, Mackenzie, Prince Rupert, and Fort St. John.

While HIR has extended recall rights, some BC hotels such as the Pacific Gateway, Hilton Metrotown, and Coast Bastion still refuse to commit to returning workers back to their jobs. The union launched the “Unequal Women” campaign in March to call attention to hotels that refuse to guarantee workers — many of them women and immigrants — the right to return to their jobs as the industry recovers.

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

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UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing workers in the hotel, food service, camp, and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

COVID-19 Q&A for Members

We are hearing from members that employers are beginning to ask our members about their vaccination status. Members have questions and we take members’ medical privacy very seriously.

We have posed members’ questions to our lawyers and have prepared the following summary. Please reach out if you have questions or need assistance.

 

Can my employer ask if I’ve been vaccinated?

Employers are entitled to employee medical information where they reasonably need it in order to manage the workforce. Your employer can ask about your vaccination status if it will determine what COVID-19 safety protocols they will implement.  However, your employer is required to keep this information private and may not share your status with any employees who do not need to know it for their own work, including managers. Your employer has to ensure it keeps your private medical information secure and protects you from privacy breaches.

What will happen if I refuse to disclose my vaccination status?

If your employer has a reasonable basis to request your vaccination status and you refuse to answer, this may be grounds for discipline, suspension, or potentially even termination. Refusing to comply with a reasonable employer direction is insubordination and can justify discipline up to, potentially, termination. Of course, this depends on whether your employer actually needs to know your vaccination status, which depends on whether that information will determine what COVID-19 safety protocols they implement.

Alternately, employers could address failure to prove vaccination status as a non-disciplinary matter. If your employer requires proof of vaccination in order to perform certain tasks (e.g., public-facing work) that are a core part of your job, your employer could consider lack of proof of vaccination as inability to perform your job. Your employer might keep you off work without pay until you obtain proof of vaccination. This is similar to what happens when an employee who requires a driver’s licence to do their job loses their license temporarily: they are held out of work until their license is reinstated, if this is a reasonably brief period.

Can my employer require me to get vaccinated?

The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your work. Employers have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of all workers. Employers also have a legitimate interest in protecting the health and safety of guests or customers. If you work in an environment where being unvaccinated could threaten the health and safety of other employees, guests, or customers, and less intrusive safety measures like masking and ventilation are insufficient, then your employer could be in a position to require vaccines.

For example, if you work in maintenance or on the phones and do not regularly interact with hotel guests, it is very unlikely that your employer could require you to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. On the other hand, if you are a server in a hotel restaurant where public health orders require patrons to be double-vaccinated, your employer would have a better argument that it is reasonable to require you, too, to be double vaccinated.

Because the law around mandating vaccines is still very unclear, most employers are erring on the side of not imposing vaccine mandates. Few employers outside healthcare settings are requiring employees to be vaccinated. We think it is more likely that employers who want their employees to be vaccinated to work in public-facing roles will simply not schedule unvaccinated employees to do that work, rather than disciplining or dismissing unvaccinated employees.

One of my co-workers has not been vaccinated and I don’t feel comfortable working with that person. What can I do?

This also depends on the context and whether there are any extra factors making this situation particular risky for you. If you have a medical condition that places you at higher risk from COVID, or if you live with someone who does, you might be entitled to a workplace accommodation. However, if you don’t have any higher risk factors then your employer’s only obligation is to comply with public health orders.

Right now, that means your employer must require masks in all public indoor settings but not in parts of the workplace that are not accessible to the public. Hotel restaurants and bars must prohibit socializing between tables and dancing. Organized gatherings are subject to capacity restrictions.

As of September 13, hotels, restaurants, and bars must require proof of vaccination for members of the public to access hotel restaurants, bars, gyms or exercise facilities, and indoor events with 50 or more people like weddings, parties, and conferences. This does not apply to employees at work. Employers are allowed to permit unvaccinated employees to work in these environments.