UNITE HERE Local 40 (Vancouver) Job Posting: Campaign Researcher

UNITE HERE Local 40 is seeking a Campaign Researcher 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. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Conduct company, industry and real estate research using a wide variety of databases and online sources, as well as field work.  
  • Develop company analyses and adapt them for various audiences (e.g., leadership & staff, workers, investors, political & regulatory bodies, the public)
  • Identify and analyze new development projects in our industries 
  • Communicate and build relationships with a wide variety of players including community 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 organizing, leading actions, doing political work, as needed.

Qualifications include:

  • Passion for, and commitment to, fighting for workers’ rights 
  • BA degree and relevant research and/or activist experience (e.g., labour, political, or community/campus activism)
  • Strong analytical skills, writing, computer, and interpersonal/organizing skills
  • Willingness to work long and sometimes irregular hours; some travel will be required.
  • Proficient with database and word processing software
  • Ability to learn quickly, work well on a team, and handle competing priorities with deadlines
  • Driver’s license

UNITE HERE Campaign Researchers have worked in the past as community and union organizers, journalists, urban planners, teachers, and researchers elsewhere.  

Location: Vancouver, BC

Position: Full-time

Contact: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with references, and a writing sample to mtravis@unitehere.org.  Resumes without a cover letter or writing sample will not be considered.

Florida Congressman urges SBA to scrutinize forgiveness of loans intended for small businesses, cites Hyatt Jacksonville

Jacksonville hotel, currently under boycott, terminated 122 workers after receiving millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans

Jacksonville, Florida — U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) is urging the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure businesses who received forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans used the funds for payroll as Congress intended. In a recent letter to the SBA, the congressman questioned millions in loans directed to Westmont Hospitality Group, a large hotel owner whose affiliate owns Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront and which terminated 122 workers after receiving the first of two PPP loans.

The letter dated June 9 states that Hyatt Jacksonville terminated 120 hotel workers six weeks after the owner was approved for a $3.49 million PPP loan during the pandemic. More workers were terminated before the owner was approved for a second PPP loan of $2 million. Recipients of PPP loans were required to spend 60% of loan proceeds on payroll costs to justify loan forgiveness.

“It concerns me that public funds directed to the owner of Hyatt Jacksonville may not have benefited those who truly needed it. I believe strong transparency and oversight are needed to ensure that companies who can demonstrate how they protected workers’ jobs receive forgiveness of PPP loans,” wrote Rep. Lawson.

In the letter, Lawson asked the SBA to account for how much of the hotel’s PPP loans actually went to payroll costs and whether those funds were used to pay for the hotel’s renovations. The hotel spent millions to renovate its meeting and event space last year. The SBA originally intended to review all loans of $2 million or more but will now review loans after they have been forgiven.  Rep. Lawson encouraged the SBA to review borrowers like Westmont Hospitality which received more than $2 million in PPP loans. Westmont affiliates took over $48 million in PPP loans across the U.S.

Rep. Lawson joins other U.S. representatives who have raised concerns about the PPP loan compliance process and have urged the SBA to update Members of Congress on its plans to ensure loans were properly forgiven. In March, Members of Congress expressed concerns over PPP loans granted to large hospitality employers and called on SBA to increase transparency and oversight of its loan forgiveness process.

This month, hospitality workers union UNITE HERE Local 40 launched a customer boycott against the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel in response to the pandemic terminations. The AFL-CIO has endorsed the boycott.

To view the letter, click here.

Media contact: Stephanie Fung, sfung@unitehere40.org, 604-928-7356.

UNITE HERE Local 40 is an affiliate of UNITE HERE International Union. UNITE HERE is the hospitality workers’ union in the U.S. and Canada that represents hundreds of thousands of workers in hotels, gaming, restaurants and food service, and airports, including more than 30,000 workers across the state of Florida.  

UNITE HERE Local 40 Launches Boycott of Westmont-owned Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Endorsed by AFL CIO

City’s premiere convention hotel terminated 121 hotel workers despite receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans

Jacksonville, Florida — Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 announced a boycott of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the owner of Hyatt Jacksonville took $5.49 million in U.S. Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans intended to sustain small businesses and protect workers’ jobs affected by the unprecedented crisis. Yet, Hyatt Jacksonville terminated 121 workers despite receiving the loans. The customer boycott, endorsed by the AFL-CIO, comes as major events return to Jacksonville.

Hyatt Jacksonville is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group. Westmont, an international hotel company that owns and operates over 400 hotels worldwide, received two PPP loans during the pandemic. Six weeks after the hotel was approved for a $3.49 million PPP loan, the hotel issued a WARN notice announcing termination of 119 hotel workers. More workers were terminated before the owner was approved for a second PPP loan of $2 million. Recipients of these loans were required to spend 60% of PPP loan proceeds on payroll costs to justify loan forgiveness.

Meanwhile, the hotel took advantage of the lull in visitors during the pandemic to undertake a multi-million renovation of its meeting and event space. Jacksonville is currently experiencing a resurgence in group business and setting record occupancy levels. Hyatt Jacksonville has not responded to the union’s questions over whether they offered to reinstate the 121 workers.

UNITE HERE Local 40 and Florida labour and community are urging residents and all travellers to not sleep, eat or meet at Hyatt Jacksonville. “We held our 2016 and 2022 State Conventions at the Hyatt Jacksonville, but we refuse to use the hotel while it is under a boycott. The hotel should have done the right thing by bringing back its staff instead of terminating them during a public health crisis. Companies like Westmont — which benefited from COVID relief funds — should be held accountable for its treatment of hospitality workers who continue to be left behind in the recovery,” said George Thurlow, Florida Young Democrats President.

“It is disappointing that the Hyatt Jacksonville mass terminated their staff during the pandemic. The AFL-CIO has chosen to withdraw all our business from the hotel until restoration of workers’ jobs has been secured. This isn’t what we expect to happen in Florida. We expect Westmont to respect workers and call them back as business returns,” said Russell Harper, North Florida CLC President, AFL CIO.

Other hotels owned by Westmont Hospitality terminated workers during the pandemic. Pan Pacific Vancouver (Canada) terminated nearly 100 long-term staff, most of them women of color. The hotel has refused to bring them back as business recovers. A former worker filed a lawsuit against the hotel over wrongful terminations last year; the lawsuit was given the green light by a British Columbia Supreme Court judge to proceed as a class action.

Affiliates of Westmont Hospitality took over $48 million in publicly funded COVID-19 relief funds across North America.

Media contact: Stephanie Fung, sfung@unitehere40.com, 604-928-7356


Richmond City Council Adopts Resolution to Not Do Business with Pacific Gateway Hotel

Richmond, BC — Richmond City Council has adopted a resolution to not give any business to Pacific Gateway Hotel until hotel management reaches an agreement with UNITE HERE, the union representing workers who have been on strike for 13 months. The resolution comes after a delegation of striking Pacific Gateway hotel workers appeared and spoke before Richmond City Council in April to urge City Councillors not to spend any public money at the hotel.

The city informed the union and the hotel owner, PHI Hotel Group, of Council’s resolution in a letter this week. The resolution was adopted at a Council meeting on May 9.

During the pandemic, PHI Hotel Group allowed the federal government to use Pacific Gateway as a quarantine site. The feds pulled out in January 2022 citing concerns over the hotel’s treatment of workers. Workers went on strike in May 2021 after the hotel terminated 143 long-term staff during the height of COVID-19. The B.C. Federation of Labour has endorsed a boycott of the hotel.

Most of the terminated Pacific Gateway workers are women. A terminated housekeeper filed a human rights complaint against the hotel last year on behalf of herself and 89 other women for wrongful firings on the basis of sex and racial discrimination. UNITE HERE Local 40 launched the B.C. Unequal Women campaign to highlight how women have borne the brunt of pandemic terminations in the hospitality industry. Since the launch of the campaign, hotels across B.C. have agreed to bring their workers back to their pre-pandemic jobs, including Hilton Metrotown which recently resolved a 13-month lockout. Pacific Gateway has refused to return workers, many of whom live in Richmond, to their jobs,

“I’m happy that Richmond City Council decided to adopt the resolution,” said Treva Martell, a terminated server from Pacific Gateway hotel and a Richmond resident. “We’re the ones who built up this hotel and made it its name. I’m glad Council understands this is bad for Richmond residents and bad for business. Their decision sends a strong message that they will not condone the hotel’s actions. Thank you to Richmond City Councillors for standing behind us workers. It means so much to me.”

CONTACT: Stephanie Fung, sfung@unitehere40.com, 604-928-7356; or Michelle Travis, mtravis@unitehere.org, 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.

Former Pan Pacific Hotel Worker Jerty Fernandez Gaa Wins City of Vancouver 2022 Awards of Excellence Diversity and Inclusion Award

Vancouver, BC — Jerty Fernandez Gaa, a terminated hotel worker from Pan Pacific Vancouver, has been awarded a City of Vancouver Diversity and Inclusion Award under the 2022 Awards of Excellence program. Jerty led a successful campaign to unionize her hotel in 2020 and is an advocate of the B.C. Unequal Women campaign, speaking out against racism, sexism, and discrimination against women in the hospitality industry.

While a public area attendant at Pan Pacific, she led union organizing efforts among her co-workers across all departments to improve job conditions and security. Workers at Pan Pacific started organizing to join the union in summer 2020. During the pandemic, around 100 workers, many of them long-term women of colour, were terminated. A lawsuit was filed against the hotel over wrongful terminations last year and was given the green light by a B.C. Supreme Court judge to proceed as a class action.

Jerty raised her children as a single mother of four. After 11 years of service at Pan Pacific, she was terminated along with her co-workers when the pandemic struck. She decided to advocate on behalf of all terminated workers through the B.C. Unequal Women Campaign to stand up for workers who experienced unequal economic impacts of COVID-19. In BC’s hospitality industry alone, 50,000 hotel workers lost their jobs in 2020, and many were not returned to their pre-pandemic jobs. Instead of bringing them back as business resumed, some hotels fired their long-term workforce — many of whom are women of colour.

Jerty Fernandez Gaa, terminated hotel worker from Pan Pacific Vancouver:
“It is such an honour to receive this award from the City of Vancouver. Thank you so much to UNITE HERE Local 40 for nominating me, and to my former colleagues, friends, and family, who have supported and stood beside me in the fight to protect the jobs of hospitality workers. This award is for all of us, and I will keep on speaking out and advocating for myself and my co-workers until we get our jobs back!”

Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40:
“Since workers at Pan Pacific Vancouver organized to form a union, Jerty is one of the most resilient leaders to emerge from that campaign. Her determination to fight for all hospitality workers during the pandemic, even after she was wrongfully terminated in the face of adversity, is inspiring.”

Jean Swanson, Vancouver City Councillor:
“Jerty truly deserves this award and is a shining example of what it means to never give up. I have followed the B.C, Unequal Women campaign since it launched, and with Jerty at the forefront, hundreds of women in the hospitality industry from diverse backgrounds have stood up to protect their jobs and fight for better futures for their families.”

Media contact: Stephanie Fung, sfung@unitehere40.com, 604-928-7356