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.


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.” 



Danielle Marchand, BCGEU

Cell: 778-968-4509


Sharan Pawa, Unite Here Local 40

Cell: 604-725-0053






Media Advisory: Rosewood Hotel Georgia Strikers to Hold Major Action at Hotel one Week After Management Stormed Out of Negotiations

What: Hotel Georgia Striker Action

When: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 5pm

Where: Meet at the Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at Rosewood’s Hotel Georgia, 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 in advance or at the action, contact Sharan.

WHY: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Canada’s top-rated hotel, stormed out of negotiations last week; the Hotel has no sense of shame when it comes to the treatment of Vancouver’s hotel workers, a majority of whom are women, standing up against unsafe, unfair and disrespectful working conditions at the five-star hotel. With 1,200 Vancouver hotel workers now on strike for a better future, it’s time for Hotel Georgia to give their dedicated workers the five star contract they deserve.

In Vancouver, the single most profitable hotel market in the country, it’s time for the industry to treat workers with respect – ensuring safe workplaces free from injury and harassment, providing job security for families, and paying wages that are enough to live in our city! Whose city is this – real estate investors or ours?


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

Press Release: Pacific Reach Properties’ Sexual Harassment Scandal Deepens as Two More Complaints Are Filed Against Hotel Owner Already Under Scrutiny for Widespread Sexual Harassment Practices at Hotel Georgia

Vancouver – Two new sexual harassment complaints have been filed against a Pacific Reach Properties hotel, the hotel owner already under media scrutiny for sexual harassment at a second downtown Vancouver hotel they own, Hotel Georgia. Hotel Georgia workers recently walked out on strike, in part over Pacific Reach Properties’ egregiously dangerous working conditions for women which put them at risk for injury and assault.

The two new sexual harassment complaints are from a current and former employee of Pacific Reach Properties owned Belmont Hotel, a sister hotel to the Hotel Georgia where workers walked out in a historic strike just days ago after management failed to sign a contract providing workers sexual harassment protections. In the latest complaints, available to reporters upon request, a clear portrait of a culture of severe sexual harassment of workers is depicted. Workers detail experiences of harassment and assault including management directing employees to flirt with male guests, managers refusing to take action to remove guests who sexually harass and intimidate female workers, and friends of one of the Hotel’s owners actively sexually harassing female workers in the owner’s presence, including touching them against their wishes.

This is the latest development in a summer of scandal for Pacific Reach Properties, which owns both the Belmont Hotel and the Hotel Georgia. A recent survey found that although sexual harassment was a serious issue across many luxury hotels in Vancouver, Hotel Georgia had the highest levels of sexual harassment reported. To date, ten different Hotel Georgia workers have come forward about the sexual harassment they are forced to endure. The failure of Hotel Georgia to settle a contract that would provide workers there with sexual harassment protections or to come to agreement on broader worker safety issues for women, particularly around injuries created by dangerous workloads and working conditions for the predominately female room attendants, led Hotel Georgia workers to strike just days ago.  As more women continue to speak out about the practices of hotels owned by Pacific Reach Properties, the group has yet to settle a contract that would keep women safe at Hotel Georgia, or to offer any meaningful sexual harassment protections to the non-union Belmont Hotel workers.

“I know sexual harassment is a problem for many women working in this industry, and at this hotel in particular. Female servers have been touched, kissed and have had to deal with sexual comments and advances from male guests and past managers.” – Sierra Garrison, former server, Hotel Georgia

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

TOMORROW: Striking Hotel Workers Will Hold Citywide Mass Action as they Ask Whose City?, Demand a Safe Workplace, Basic Job Security, and Wages That Are Enough to Survive in Vancouver

What: Vancouver hotel strike demonstration

When: Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 5pm

Where: Meet at the Hyatt Vancouver, at West Georgia and Burrard

Who: UNITE HERE Local 40 hotel workers on strike at four downtown Vancouver hotels, 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 a better future! Workers at four major Vancouver hotels walked out on strike over the past week after management refused to agree to job protections for long time employees, workplace safety reforms to end the dangerous working conditions for female hotel workers, or wages that would make one job enough to live in Vancouver. The tourism industry in Vancouver is the most profitable hospitality industry in the country, but conditions for workers have only gotten worse. As hotels under strike have doubled their revenues from just years ago, workers have been left behind – on their current wages, striking room attendants have to work 89 hours a week just to earn enough to afford a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver.

Join the strikers as they fight for a Vancouver where a lifetime of service to your employer is rewarded with job security, where women workers aren’t routinely subjected to injuries and chronic pain because of management cutting corners, and where one full time job is enough to live on in our city! WHOSE CITY? Our city!

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

Media Advisory: BREAKING! Hotel Georgia workers launch indefinite strike for the first time in hotel’s history

Over 200 hospitality workers at the Hotel Georgia, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, walked off the job last night around midnight after negotiations with the hotel broke down. The walkout follows strikes at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels this week. A strike is unprecedented at Hotel Georgia, rated the #1 hotel in Canada by U.S. News and World Report and regarded as an iconic hotel in Vancouver. Now without a contract for eight months, the workers are demanding respect and working conditions which match the five-star service they provide on a daily basis to the hotel’s clientele.


Picket Action

Date: Sunday, Sept 22, 2019

Time: 7:00 AM

Where: Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver



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