MEDIA ADVISORY: Big banks or hospitality workers, who benefits under proposed federal program for hard-hit sectors? UNITE HERE Canada presents new analysis and report.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 12:30PM ET/10:30AM MT/9:30AM PT
Click here to register in advance 

WHAT:  UNITE HERE Canada, the hospitality workers union, will host an on-the-record media briefing on UNITE HERE Canada’s new report, Demystifying Canadian Hospitality Bailouts: Who Benefits, Big Banks or Working People?  The report shows how the federal government’s new funding program for hard-hit sectors, the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), may ultimately benefit profitable bank lenders, not thousands of laid off hotel workers.  HASCAP was announced in the government’s recent fiscal update.

A question and answer period will follow the briefing; the report will be made available upon request.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 9 at 12:30PM ET / 10:30AM MT / 9:30AM PT  

WHERE:  Online – Register for access information here:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z80Sjy1PTLKBT06Z0AQpbg

WHO:  Ian Robb, UNITE HERE Canadian Director; Melissa Sobers, Research Analyst and report author; and UNITE HERE hospitality members

WHY:  Debt-laden hotel owners have passed up tens of billions of dollars in available money to retain workers through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program yet could soon access low interest loans fully guaranteed by the federal government under HASCAP.  The new report by UNITE HERE Canada identifies Canada’s Big 6 banks and other lenders – not hospitality workers or mom-and-pop hoteliers – as the ultimate beneficiaries of federal government relief.

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

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PRESS RELEASE: UNITE HERE Local 40 Responds to Extension of Federal Government Takeover of Pacific Gateway Hotel through March 2021

For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2020

The Pacific Gateway Hotel has just announced to workers that the federal takeover of the hotel as a quarantine site will be extended through March 31, 2021. Hotel management claim the government now controls the hotel and has told workers that the takeover will extend beyond workers’ right to be recalled to their jobs – most of whom have served the hotel for decades. Workers are seeking 24 months to return to their jobs and bridge them through the pandemic.

Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, responded to this new development:

“The failure of the federal government to make sure hotel workers aren’t hurt by its takeover of the Pacific Gateway is astounding.  Workers at the hotel – predominantly women and immigrant workers – have been kept in the dark for months about the duration of the federal contract and why feds are using a contractor to perform hotel workers’ duties. Now the hotel is suggesting workers could permanently lose their jobs because of the extended federal contract.

This is unacceptable from a federal government which has given lip service to caring about workers hard-hit by the pandemic. We want to know how the government plans to resolve this situation – one in which their actions will cause hotel workers to lose their jobs.”

The Pacific Gateway Hotel is located near Vancouver International Airport and employs more than 150 long-term hotel workers. The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.

Media Contacts:
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.

PRESS RELEASE: Federal Government Takeover of Pacific Gateway Hotel Threatens 150 Jobs

UNITE HERE Local 40

Press Release – November 25, 2020
Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356

Federal Government Takeover of Pacific Gateway Hotel Threatens 150 Jobs

Vancouver, B.C. – Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 held a press conference and called on the federal government to prevent 150 workers from losing their jobs at the Pacific Gateway Hotel, currently being used as a quarantine site.  Hotel workers displaced by the takeover said they could be permanently terminated as early as January unless the government acts.

The federal government took over the hotel as a quarantine site near Vancouver International Airport and brought in the Red Cross to perform duties typically performed by the workers.  As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the government’s contract has been repeatedly extended. Hotel management has said this is an involuntary seizure with no clear end date.  Yet, laid off Pacific Gateway workers could be permanently terminated as soon as January, when workers’ recall provisions in their collective bargaining agreement begin to expire.

“I have worked as a room attendant at Pacific Gateway Hotel for 45 years,” said Gangamma Naidu, a laid off room attendant.  The government took over my hotel and people hired by the Red Cross were trained to do my job. I worked all my life for this hotel and don’t deserve to be treated like this. Why isn’t the government protecting our jobs?”

The Trudeau government has urged employers to keep workers attached to their jobs.  Yet, their actions threaten the future of 150 long-term workers – most of them women and immigrants from the South Asian and Chinese communities. Many of them have served the hotel for decades.

“We understand that the hotel needs to be used to quarantine travellers,” said Treva Martell, a laid-off server who has worked at the hotel for 15 years. “But some of us could lose our jobs permanently starting in January. We’ve asked for 24 months to return to our jobs. We just want to know we can be recalled to our jobs, no matter how long the pandemic lasts.  Our federal leaders and the Pacific Gateway need to guarantee we’ll have jobs to return to when the pandemic is over,” said Martell.

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

Media Advisory: Impacted by Quarantine Act, Displaced Hotel Workers ask Federal Government: Why Are You Taking Away Our Jobs?

Media Advisory for Video Press Conference – Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET
Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected] , 604-928-7356
Click here to register in advance

WHAT: UNITE HERE Local 40 will host a video press conference with laid-off workers who could permanently lose their jobs because of the federal takeover of the Pacific Gateway Hotel, currently being used as a quarantine site.  The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 25 at 11AM Pacific Time / 2PM Eastern Time

WHO: 

  • UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel members from Pacific Gateway Hotel
  • Robert Demand, UNITE HERE Local 40 Executive Director

WHERE: Zoom; RSVP here for conference information:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GWY7dL_sT-Cjx_YyMKANMg

WHY:  The Trudeau government is urging employers to keep their workforce intact – yet the federal takeover of the Pacific Gateway Hotel, located near Vancouver International Airport, could put the jobs of 150 workers at risk. The federal government took over the hotel as a quarantine site in April and brought in the Red Cross to perform duties typically performed by hotel workers.  As COVID-19 cases rise, there is no end in sight to the federal takeover of the hotel.  Yet, the government has not acknowledged the impact of displacing long-term Pacific Gateway workers, most of whom are women and immigrants, who may begin to permanently lose their jobs in January.

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

Job Posting: UNITE HERE Local 40 Organizer

UNITE HERE Local 40, BC’s union for hospitality workers, is seeking an entry-level or experienced organizer to work locally on aggressive campaigns. Organizers work with members 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 and organize the unorganized.
– Commitment to rank and file leadership development
.
– 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.

To apply for the Organizer position, please email your resume and cover letter to Mike Biskar at [email protected]