Media Advisory: Locked Out Workers to Call on Burnaby City Council to Not Spend City Money at Hilton Metrotown

Rally to be held at Burnaby City Hall on Monday

WHAT: Locked out Hilton Metrotown hotel workers will hold a rally at Burnaby City Hall next Monday urging Council to adopt a motion to not spend City money at the hotel. Hilton Metrotown locked out room attendants, front desk agents, banquet, and kitchen staff on April 16 after terminating 97 long-term staff. The hotel’s actions directly impact Burnaby working families – 50 of the affected workers live in the municipality. The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.

WHO: Hilton Metrotown hotel workers and community allies

WHEN: 4:30 PM PT, Monday, April 26, 2021

WHERE: Burnaby City Hall, 4949 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC

WHY: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and adversely impacted BC’s hotel workers, the majority of whom are women and people of colour. Hotel workers are urging Council to adopt a motion that the City will not hold, sponsor, or participate in any events held at Hilton Metrotown, nor reimburse city staff for attending events at the hotel, until terminated employees are reinstated and the labour dispute is resolved.

The motion also calls on the City to not accommodate any staff, contractors, or other persons on City business during the labour dispute, and that the City immediately inform all staff, contractors, and other affected persons that it will not reimburse expenses incurred on City business at the Hilton Metrotown during the labour dispute.

Since the lockout, workers have set up a picket line and are demonstrating daily outside the hotel. Earlier this month, large union customers, including BCGEU, BCTF, MoveUP, HEU, and PSAC-BC 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

###

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 Release: Workers Locked Out at Hilton Metrotown

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                            Contact: Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785

Vancouver, BC – Hotel workers at Hilton Metrotown were locked out late Thursday night.  The labour dispute comes over the employers’ refusal to commit to return 97 long-term workers back to their jobs as business recovers.  The lockout impacts all Hilton Metrotown workers including room attendants, front desk agents, laundry attendants, kitchen staff and other hourly workers. The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.

The hotel has refused to negotiate over enhanced job security for workers during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  Instead, the hotel terminated 97 long-term staff in recent weeks rather than commit to bring them back when jobs become available again. Management has indicated that more firings are likely if workers have been out of work for more than 12 months.  Other hotel employers, like Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront, have committed to retain long-term staff during the crisis rather than fire them.

During a temporary crisis, Hilton Metrotown wants to permanently eliminate living wage jobs and replace them at minimum wage, eliminate workload protections, and take away workers’ current medical and pension benefits.  The hotel’s actions largely impact women and people of colour already bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

“Hilton Metrotown is taking women and racialized workers hostage in order to impose permanent changes during the pandemic.  When workers refused to accept management’s plan to get rid of their co-workers, the hotel fired them and locked out the rest.  This hotel wants to undermine the economic security of women and immigrant workers who put this hotel on the map.  We won’t let them get away with that,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

“It is truly disheartening that hotel management has chosen to lock us out instead of working with us to get through the pandemic.  The lengths at which Hilton Metrotown will go to destroy the good jobs we built over twenty years of working together is unacceptable,” said Sergio Moyer, a locked-out front desk supervisor who has worked at the hotel since it opened.

The hotel is owned by DSDL Canada Investments, a subsidiary of South Korean-based DSDL Co., and operated by Crescent Hotels & Resorts which is headquartered in the U.S.

#UnequalWomen

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

-30-

 

PRESS RELEASE: Pan Pacific Workers Bring Second Class Action Lawsuit Over Breach of Contract

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2021

Employer reneges on promise to extend health benefits after inducing workers to sign away their severance rights

Vancouver, BC — Today, hotel workers filed a class action lawsuit against the Pan Pacific Vancouver for reneging on its contractual agreement to maintain their health benefits during the pandemic. Pan Pacific promised to provide workers extended health benefits indefinitely if workers agreed to give up certain entitlements, including severance pay. Despite the agreement, hotel management abruptly terminated workers’ health coverage. This is the second class action lawsuit workers have filed against Pan Pacific following an earlier lawsuit filed in January over wrongful terminations.

The suit, which was filed on behalf of all employees who signed the casual agreement but later lost benefits, alleges that the hotel misled workers, misrepresented the terms of the agreement, and failed to act in good faith. The case was filed by three employees who signed the agreement, including a guest services lead, a guest services agent, and a cook, whose extended health benefits were recently terminated. The workers are seeking certification as a class action on behalf of all affected workers.

In the agreement, hotel management offered to continue workers’ health benefits and pay them $250 if they gave up their regular full-time status to become casual, on-call workers and waive their severance rights. Of the 156 workers offered the new contract last summer, 93 signed. Most or all have since had their benefits terminated.

Tonia Lee, one of the plaintiffs and a guest services lead at the hotel, said: “I gave up my full-time status to become a casual worker because extended benefits are important for my spouse and I. At the time, I knew I would have neither work nor money coming in and the least that I could have would be extended medical and dental coverage. I was never aware of an end date at all to the healthcare membership plan, which I feel the company knew very well. I would never have signed this contract knowing also that I was giving up my severance of many years. I feel they took advantage of us at our most vulnerable when the future looked bleak. I actually thought they cared about their long-term employees that put their whole life into this business. It’s disgusting.”

Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40, said: “The Pan Pacific’s actions were dishonest and negligent on all fronts. Hotel management promised to maintain workers’ health benefits during a public health crisis, then yanked them away after workers gave up their job status and severance rights. Is this how hotel employers demonstrate their care for the women and people of colour who worked so hard for them over the years?”

Workers are seeking damages for losses that arose due to terminated health benefits. This includes punitive damages and costs that would have been paid by the healthcare provider had Pan Pacific abided by its agreement.

The high-end Pan Pacific Vancouver, located at Canada Place, is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group. Westmont is one of the world’s largest privately held hospitality companies with over 500 hotels worldwide.

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

###

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 RELEASE: Hilton Metrotown Files 72-hour Lockout Notice; Burnaby Mayor, Unions, Community Groups Throw Support to Hotel Workers

Vancouver, BC – Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 held a press conference with Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, BC Teachers Federation President, Teri Mooring, and other labour and community leaders to blast Hilton Metrotown for issuing 72-hour lockout notice this morning and recently terminating almost 100 long-term workers.

Hilton Metrotown could lockout workers as early as Friday, April 9.  The lockout threat comes after several union customers, BC Teachers Federation, BCGEU, HEU, MoveUP, and PSAC-BC, announced they will not patronize the hotel until management commits to return workers, most of whom are women and people of colour, to their jobs as business recovers. Workers have been on partial strike since February 2021.

Hilton Metrotown is leading the industry-wide attack on BC’s hotel workers. Mass firings are being used as an extortion tactic to strip away economic security for workers. This prompted hotel workers to launch the “Unequal Women” campaign to draw attention to Hilton Metrotown and other hotels that refuse to commit to bring back their workers as the industry recovers. Many hotels are trying to turn back the clock on working conditions that disproportionately impact women and racialized workers.

In addition to Mayor Hurley and Ms. Mooring, Hilton Metrotown workers were joined by leaders of BCGEU, HEU, ATU, Single Mothers Alliance BC, Metro Vancouver Alliance, and Women Transforming Cities at today’s press conference.

Quotes:

Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley:

“The backbone of Hilton Metrotown is the staff and the people who have worked to make it a special place.  Hilton management needs to get back to the table, deal with the layoff and recall provisions of the contract, extend that until after the pandemic is over, and allow workers the dignity to return to their jobs. They’re long-term employees. They made a difference to this hotel. That’s why I’m here to show my support for all these workers, many of them personal friends, many of them residents of Burnaby.”

BCTF President Teri Mooring:

“It is disheartening that hotels such as Hilton Metrotown are seeking permanent concessions for a temporary situation that we’re in, which is the pandemic.  [BCTF] has chosen to withdraw all of our business from the Hilton Metrotown until there is a fairly negotiated collective agreement and restoration of laid-off workers’ jobs and a right to recall has been secured.  There should be no pandemic profiteering in this situation. This is not what we expect in BC. We expect all workers to be treated fairly and we call on Hilton Metrotown to do just that.”

Sophea Kong, former Hilton Metrotown Banquet Server, 13 years

“After 13 years, the Hilton Metrotown terminated me last month.  The hotel was always like a family to me, so I didn’t see this coming.  It’s unfair for the hotel to treat workers like this.  I supported and raised my three sons on this job. My co-workers and I gave everything to our hotel over the years. Where is hotel management when we need them?  The hotel should do the right thing and commit to bring us back.”

Baljinder Kahlon, former Hilton Senior Housekeeping Supervisor, 21 years

“I was part of the team that welcomed guests when the hotel opened in 1999. I’ve seen Hilton Metrotown go through two renovations and the Olympics. I am one of the many workers terminated last week. After our years of service, this is the kind of treatment we receive? That’s not acceptable. On behalf of all Hilton Metrotown workers, we deserve to return to our jobs when business comes back because we’re the ones who made the hotel successful. In a time like this, Hilton should value their long-term staff by protecting our jobs, not firing us.”

To view today’s recording of the press conference, go to: https://www.facebook.com/129648666837/videos/468755844323502

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

###

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.

MEDIA ADVISORY: UNITE HERE Local 40 to Hold Press Conference to Address Hilton Vancouver Metrotown’s Lockout Threat; Burnaby Mayor to Join in Support of Fired Hotel Workers

UNITE HERE Local 40 will host a press conference today to address Hilton Vancouver Metrotown’s 72-hour lockout notice which was served this morning. Last week, the hotel terminated 22 long-term workers — bringing total job losses to nearly 100. Workers have been on partial strike since February 2021. Several large union customers, BC Teachers Federation, BCGEU, HEU, MoveUP, and PSAC BC, have vowed they will not patronize the hotel until they commit to return workers, most of whom are women and people of colour, to their jobs as business recovers. Hilton is leading the industry-wide attack on hotel workers in the province by attempting to roll back economic gains made by workers over the years and replacing them with cheaper hires.

WHO:  Hilton Metrotown workers and community allies, including Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, and representatives from BCGEU, Single Mothers Alliance BC, Metro Vancouver Alliance, and Women Transforming Cities.

WHEN:  Tuesday, April 6, 2021

TIME11 AM Pacific Time

WHERE:  Via Zoom; Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_J3FxcrzNSXqds1jM0waFCQ

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

###

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.