Press Release: Vancouver Hotel Strikers Celebrate Historic Raises of up to 25% at Multiple Downtown Hotels, Strike Continues at Hotel Georgia

Vancouver – As of 6:00pm on October 16, 2019, UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, and Pinnacle Harbourfront voted to ratify a historic new contract for those properties as well as at the Four Seasons, with industry leading gains including raises of up to 25%. In addition, new standards around workplace safety, sexual harassment, and job security have been pioneered in the new contracts.

 

The ratification of these contracts ends a 28 day strike of three major downtown Vancouver properties, yet the strike continues at Hotel Georgia. In addition to establishing industry transforming wage standards, the new contracts include innovative sexual harassment protections, workload reductions, and improvements in benefits and job security for restaurant and kitchen staff. The vote to approve this new contract ends the picket lines outside and boycotts of Hyatt, Westin and Pinnacle hotels, with workers at these properties proudly returning to work today.

 

“Our members are key to the success of these luxury hotels, and they chose the sacrifice of striking in order to win improved working conditions, respect and a real future in this industry,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “This is the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades , and I’m deeply moved by the courage and vision of our members in taking on this fight. With this contract we have achieved a new standard in the hospitality industry which will improve the lives of not only our own members and their families, but the lives of all hotel workers in Vancouver. This strike has sent a strong message to the industry, not to underestimate the power of working people. We will now turn the momentum of this historic victory to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where our strikers have been without a contract for ten months and management has failed to offer acceptable working conditions, wages, or security.”

 

“Our new contract is proof to me that Vancouver is our city!” said Nassa Chantacheevakul, banquet server at Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel. “As a millennial worker in Metro Vancouver, this contract will make the difference for me between struggling to make rent each month to being able to truly build a life here. I’m proud of what my coworkers and I won – we picketed, we rallied, we made ourselves heard, and we took care of each other during the 28 days of this strike. Not a single Vancouver hotel worker crossed the picket lines, and we proved what can be achieved in a union! We won raises higher than our bosses said we ever could. I look forward to going back to work and back to serving my guests!”

 

Almost two hundred hotel workers remain on strike at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. UNITE HERE Local 40 calls on Hotel Georgia to settle this strike.

 

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Media Advisory: Tentative Agreement Reached with Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency, Pinnacle Harbourfront and Four Seasons hotels!

ANNOUCEMENT

Early this morning, a tentative agreement was reached between UNITE HERE Local 40 and the Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency, Pinnacle Harbourfront and Four Seasons hotels, representing approximately 1,500 downtown Vancouver hotel workers.

This ground-breaking agreement secures significant wage increases for hotel staff over a four-year period, implements protections against sexual harassment, strengthens job security for room attendants and kitchen and restaurant workers, and maintains health insurance.

“Our strike has made the changes we need in the hotel industry! I’m very happy about the workload reductions for room attendants. The job security we’ve won is also great for our members, our families and will keep our union strong. I’m very proud of our members, we’ve picketed through rain and cold weather for this fight, and we feel united and strong with this tentative agreement reached.” – Teresita Gonzales, Room Attendant Supervisor, Pinnacle Habourfront hotel

No agreement has been reached yet with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where the strike continues.

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Media Advisory: Tomorrow NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh Joins Striking Vancouver Hotel Workers to Celebrate Thanksgiving!

What: Hotel Workers Thanksgiving Lunch

When: Monday, October 14, 2019 at 12:30pm

Where: The Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver

 

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers entering their fourth week on strike at four downtown Vancouver hotels (Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Harbourfront), including hotel room attendants, cooks, front desk workers, and bellmen.

Note: Frontline UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike now for job security, a safe workplace, and wages that make one job enough to live in Vancouver will be available for interview in person at the action or in advance by phone. To connect with strikers in advance or at the action, contact Sharan.

 

WHY: 1,200 Vancouver hotel workers are on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years, demanding that American hotel corporations like Marriott stop paying Canadian workers less than American workers. This Thanksgiving long weekend Jagmeet Singh, leader of Canada’s NDP and MP for Burnaby South, joins the strikers as they hold a feast in celebration of their fight, proud to stand united for job security, safe workplaces and wages which would make one job enough to live in Vancouver. They work for companies like Marriott which made over $2.8 billion in Canada alone last year. While Marriott gets richer, workers at their hotels like the Westin Bayshore are overworked to the risk of injury, can lose their jobs if the owner decides to close and reopen a new restaurant, and need wages that keep up with the rising cost of living. Vancouver’s hotel workers are proud to stand up to Marriott and the other corporations, developers and investors who own and operate hotels in our city that have made a life in Vancouver unaffordable. Jagmeet Singh is the first federal party leader to show support for striking hotel workers in their fight for secure and safe jobs in Canada’s most expensive city.

 

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

Media Advisory: Happy Thanksgiving! No Thanks to Marriott, Strikers to Mobilize at Marriott, Demanding Equal Pay to American Workers

What: Hotel Striker Demonstrations at Marriott

When: Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 5pm

Where: JW Marriott Parq Vancouver hotel, 39 Smithe Street, Vancouver

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike, including hotel room attendants, cooks, front desk workers, and bellmen.

Note: Frontline UNITE HERE Local 40 strikers on strike now for job security, a safe workplace, and wages that make one job enough to live in Vancouver will be available for interview in person at the action or in advance by phone. To connect with strikers or union leadership in advance or at the action, contact Sharan. 

WHY: U.S.-based Marriott Corporation is the largest hotel company in the world. Marriott made over $2.8 billion in Canada alone last year. While Marriott gets richer, workers at their hotels like the Westin Bayshore are overworked to the risk of injury, can lose their jobs if the owner decides to close and reopen a new restaurant, and are being offered about half of what U.S. Marriott workers are getting.

We don’t need big U.S. corporations treating Canadians like they’re worth less! As the strike reaches the third week and Thanksgiving approaches, strikers will confront Marriott on Thursday, demanding that Canadian workers receive equity to all North American standards.

Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

BCGEU supports historic Unite Here Local 40 strike with $3 million loan

Media Release—For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

VANCOUVER—Today Stephanie Smith, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), and a group of BCGEU members, joined Unite Here Local 40 members on the picket line at the Westin Bayshore to announce that the BCGEU—one of BC’s largest and fastest growing unions—is supporting the strike with a $3 million interest-free loan.

In September more than 1,200 Unite Here Local 40 members initiated the first strike at downtown Vancouver hotels in two decades. Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action after 14 months of bargaining with the Hyatt Regency, the Westin Bayshore and the Pinnacle Harbourfront and eight months of bargaining with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia failed to result in collective agreements that would address workplace safety, job security and fair compensation for hotel workers.

Since the beginning of the strike Unite Here Local 40’s high energy, high visibility picket lines have attracted support from the general public, attention from the media and complaints from hotel management about the noise and disruption caused by striking members. But the union’s contract demands remain unmet and their fight for a better future for all hotel workers continues.

With almost 80,000 members, the BCGEU is one of the largest and fastest growing unions in the province. The BCGEU’s provincial executive—which is the union’s governing body between policy conventions—voted unanimously in favour of making an interest-free loan in the amount of $3 million available for Unite Here Local 40 to access to support the hotel strike.

Quotes:

Stephanie Smith, President, BCGEU

“Strikes are powerful tools—they disrupt employers’ operations, they get the public engaged in workers’ rights and they build solidarity—but they cost money. This loan will help make sure that Unite Here Local 40 members can afford to stay out on strike as long as it takes to achieve collective agreements that give them the safety, stability and fair compensation they deserve.”

“The BCGEU, like other unions, has supported this strike from the beginning by joining the picket lines and by cancelling bookings and refusing to attend events at these four hotels. I’m proud to be here on behalf of 80,000 members of the BCGEU as the first union to offer financial support to Unite Here Local 40 as their fight for a better future continues. I know we won’t be the last.”

Zailda Chan, President, UNITE HERE Local 40

“We are overwhelmed by the level of support BCGEU is extending to our 1,200 striking hotel members.  This will send a strong message to the real estate developers and U.S. corporations who own and operate the hotels our members work for in this city.  We are determined to make change in the hospitality industry, and BCGEU’s support will only redouble our fight to improve the lives of Vancouver’s hotel workers.” 

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Contact:

Danielle Marchand, BCGEU

Cell: 778-968-4509

 

Sharan Pawa, Unite Here Local 40

Cell: 604-725-0053