PRESS RELEASE: Hospitality Employers Threaten to Lock Out 1,200 Workers Across BC; Disproportionately Hurts Women, Racialized Workers

Over 1200 hospitality workers in 14 cities could be locked out as early as Friday, April 30

Vancouver, BC — UNITE HERE Local 40 held a press conference today to address a 72-hour lockout notice issued by Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR), an employer group representing 32 hotels, motels, and liquor stores across BC. Over 1,200 hospitality workers and their families in 14 communities will be affected if the lockout goes into effect. Hospitality employers are refusing to commit to retain their workers—mostly women and people of colour who served their hotels for years—to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

UNITE HERE Local 40 has called on HIR to jointly request mediation and find a path forward to address the impact of the pandemic on hospitality workers and their employers.

The lockout notice comes just as the Province announced they will provide an additional $25 million in ‘circuit breaker’ grants to the hotel industry, on top of $120 million announced last week to aid the economic recovery of the tourism sector.

Without a commitment to return workers to their jobs when the COVID crisis is over, more hospitality workers will be terminated. Mass pandemic firings have been used as a threat to roll back decades of economic gains. Two weeks ago, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown locked out hotel workers after firing 97 long-term staff. These attacks on workers, primarily women and racialized workers, prompted the hotel workers union to launch the “Unequal Women” campaign to call attention to hotels that refuse to guarantee workers the right to return to their jobs as the industry recovers.

Jan Budd, a kitchen helper for 30 years at Holiday Inn & Suites Vancouver Downtown, said: “What my hotel and others in BC are doing is immoral. They aren’t respecting our years of service. Instead, they want to get rid of many of us, cut costs, and roll back our economic gains. If my hotel locks me out, it will be a big financial burden. I’m barely getting by with the few shifts I’m working now. I’m 61 and I don’t want to start all over again at minimum wage.”

Fe Taala Casas, a room attendant for 26 years at Inn at the Quay in New Westminster, said: “What did we do to deserve this?  I can’t imagine what will happen if I have no work.  I support my daughter who’s in college and still lives with me.  We’re all working families. We just want our jobs to be there for us when it’s time to go back to work. Do they really want women like me to go back and start all over again?  We won’t accept this.  We have no choice but to fight back.”

Hospitality workers in these communities are affected by the lockout threat: Vancouver, Victoria, Coquitlam, Richmond, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Harrison Hot Springs, Kamloops, Castlegar, Fort St. John, Port Alberni, Mackenzie, Prince Rupert, and Fort St. John.

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

#BCUnequalWomen
www.bcunequalwomen.org/bc-travel-alert/ 

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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. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Press Conference: 1,200 BC Hotel Workers Served 72-Hour Lockout Notice; UNITE HERE Local 40 to Address Hotel Industry Lockout Threat

Over 1200 hospitality workers could be locked out this Friday, April 30

Vancouver, BC — UNITE HERE Local 40 will host a press conference today, Thursday April 29, to address a 72-hour lockout notice issued by Hospitality Industrial Relations, an employer group representing 32 hotels, motels, and liquor stores across BC.  Over 1,200 hospitality workers and their families in 14 communities will be affected. Hotel employers are refusing to commit to retain their workers – mostly women and people of colour who served their hotels for years – to get through the COVID-19 crisis.  The lockout notice comes just as the Province announced they will provide an additional $25 million in ‘circuit breaker’ grants to hotel operators – on top of $120 million announced last week to aid the economic recovery of the tourism sector.

WHO:  Robert Demand, Executive Director, UNITE HERE Local 40, and affected hotel members. 

WHEN:  Thursday, April 29, 2021

TIME12:30 PM Pacific Time

WHERE:  Via Zoom; RSVP at https://unitehere-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_y3ByRbH2SlGYmsnHGfsZ1Q

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

#BCUnequalWomen
https://www.bcunequalwomen.org/bc-travel-alert/

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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. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.

Campaign Research Internship Opportunity

UNITE HERE Local 40 is seeking a FULL-TIME PAID INTERN 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 online and offline sources
  • Develop, write and present analysis to be adapted for various audiences (e.g. internal and external)
  • Outreach and communication with a variety of audiences including progressive 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 supporting and leading actions, as needed.

Qualifications include:

  • Passion and commitment to winning social and economic justice through organizing, demonstrated through experience with progressive/activist campaigns
  • BA degree or relevant research and/or activist experience
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Willingness to work long and irregular hours
  • Proficient with database and word processing software
  • Ability to learn quickly, work well on a team, and handle multiple projects and tight deadlines
  • Driver’s license.

The internship requires a minimum commitment of three months. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Location: Vancouver, BC

Contact: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with references, and a writing sample to [email protected].

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Press Release: Burnaby City Council Passes Motion, Vows Not to Support Events or Promote Any Business with Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Vancouver, BC — Today, Burnaby City Council passed a motion to support locked out Hilton Metrotown hotel workers and called for a return to their jobs as business recovers. Dozens of Hilton Metrotown workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, rallied at City Hall before Council convened. The hotel locked out room attendants, front desk agents, banquet, and kitchen staff on April 16 after terminating 97 long-term workers. Their actions directly impact Burnaby families – 50 of the affected workers live in the municipality. The City of Burnaby is the first municipality in the province to not patronize the hotel.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and adversely impacted BC’s hotel workers, many of whom are women and people of colour. Hotel workers urged Council to not give business to Hilton Metrotown until terminated employees are reinstated and the labour dispute is resolved.

“I’m so happy that Burnaby City Council did the right thing and stood on the side of Hilton Metrotown workers. At a time like this, we need our elected officials to do more to protect workers’ jobs. My son was 5 when I started working at Hilton. He’s 19 years old now. I helped support my family with this job. We shouldn’t lose what we’ve worked so hard for just because of the pandemic,” said Jaswinder Bassi, a laid-off room attendant and Burnaby resident who has worked at the hotel for almost 15 years.

“I’m pleased that the Mayor and Council decided to pass the motion and support us. Burnaby City Council sent a strong message today that hotel workers deserve the right to return to their jobs when business recovers. Hilton Metrotown workers made this hotel successful for over 20 years and we are determined to fight until we get our jobs back,” said Sergio Moyer, a front desk supervisor and Burnaby resident who has worked at the hotel since it opened.

Since the lockout, workers have set up a picket line and are demonstrating daily outside the hotel. Union customers, including BCGEU, BCTF, MoveUP, HEU, PSAC-BC, and UFCW 1518, have vowed not to patronize the hotel until Hilton Metrotown guarantees workers can return to their jobs, rather than be replaced, when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

At a time when the province is providing $120 million in new money to aid economic recovery in the tourism sector, Hilton Metrotown is using the pandemic to terminate long-term workers and permanently roll back economic gains made by women and people of colour who have long served the hotel. Hotel workers are urging elected officials at all levels of government to do more to support economically vulnerable workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

#BCUnequalWomen

https://www.bcunequalwomen.org/bc-travel-alert/

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 and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.