November 23, 2018
Nanaimo Hotel Workers Pose Strike as Holiday Season Looms
Workers Ready to Walk Off from Coast Bastion Hotel
Nanaimo – Coast Bastion Hotel workers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. Frustrated with the lack of progress made in contract negotiations with hotel management, the workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, are prepared to take action for better hotel jobs.
B.C.’s tourism industry is booming, creating record profits for hotels. Yet hotel workers across our province are continually struggling to make ends meet, as well as secure medical benefits and liveable pensions. Coast Bastion Hotel workers have been in over a hundred hours of bargaining, yet management has failed to address serious workplace issues.
Coast Bastion workers are seeking a wage increase that reflects the increased cost of living in Nanaimo and a fair pension plan for staff that would keep retired workers out of poverty. Workers are also calling on the company to address heavy housekeeping workloads which increases the risk of injuries for room attendants on a daily basis as well as being detrimental to their long-term health.
While Coast Hotel workers are poised to strike in Nanaimo, workers at other Coast hotels in Victoria, Prince George and Kelowna continue to bargain.
“After nine long days in three different cities across B.C., we’ve tried to negotiate with the company. Coast workers are fed up with the little progress made on wages and pension, and their absolutely disrespectful attitude addressing workload and language changes. The workers’ vote in favor of a strike demonstrates how we stand together in demanding a fair contract,” said Garry Constable, a Shop Steward at Coast Bastion Hotel.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Nanaimo on November 29.
New agreement averts strike on campus
UNBC’s cafeteria workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 40 have unanimously ratified a new agreement with the university’s food provider, Compass Group. Narrowly averting a strike, the new agreement ends the prolonged labour dispute at the university and addresses workers’ longstanding concerns over pay and job security.
Workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and Tim Hortons will receive raises of $2/hour at minimum, additional bonus pay, while entry-level wages for new workers will increase substantially to better meet the cost of living in Prince George. The agreement establishes a new pension benefit for workers, significantly improves medical benefits and enshrines stronger anti-harassment and anti-discrimination standards to protect the rights of members engaged in union activity. Cafeteria workers also achieved a path to job security with the new agreement.
“We are very pleased that these issues could be resolved. We feel this agreement addresses our concerns and allows us to continue providing service to the students who rely on us,” said Jeannie Gilbert, a cook at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall.
The workers have engaged in numerous job actions since the contract expired in April 2017. After a year of little progress in bargaining, the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice earlier this month. Workers have received an outpouring of support from faculty, students, labour and community allies who petitioned the university and participated in demonstrations and other actions.
“We want to acknowledge the support we received from the university community, including students, staff and faculty. Without their support, we may not have been able to avoid a strike,” said Melody Danchuk, a long-term cafeteria worker and member of the union bargaining committee.
For more information, please contact: Octavian Cadabeschi, (604) 813-2105, [email protected]
Prince George – UNITE HERE! Local 40 members who serve food at UNBC have issued a 72 hour strike notice. The union represents workers at UNBC’s Agora Dining Hall and at Tim Hortons.
The workers are employees of Chartwells, UNBC’s food service contractor. The union and the contractor have been engaged in contract negotiations for over a year. Many of the workers earn low wages and have poor benefits – issues that must be resolved in order to avoid a strike. Additionally, workers lack even basic job security in case the university changes food service contractors. Cafeteria workers are committed to transforming food service jobs at UNBC into stable, living wage jobs. The next round of bargaining is scheduled for Tuesday, October 9.
Check back here for updates on a possible strike.
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