Press Release: Rosewood Hotel Georgia staff highlight disparity at Canada’s #1 hotel

VANCOUVER – Staff at Canada’s top-rated hotel, Rosewood Hotel Georgia, held a boisterous demonstration yesterday in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  Nearly three hundred workers and supporters gathered outside the luxury hotel to protest working conditions that do not meet its five-star standard.  The hotel has been rated the #1 hotel in the country, with rooms priced at $550 a night and higher.

photo: Michael YC Tseng

“We provide a very high level of service at our hotel and have been consistently recognized for our quality.  We need jobs and wages that match the excellent service we provide to our guests every day,” said James Sugden, a cook at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.

Hotel Georgia room attendants, cooks, servers, stewards, and other staff, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, were joined by a large contingent of hotel workers from nearby downtown Vancouver hotels as well as community and labour supporters.  They called on the owner, Pacific Reach Properties, to raise the bar when it comes to treatment of workers, especially women, in their hotel and restaurant establishments.

In 2017, Pacific Reach Properties bought the Hotel Georgia, described by one publication as an “adult playground.”  Several female staff recently reported concerns about how the company handles harassment experienced by women on the job.  The Union has reached an agreement with hotel operator, Rosewood Hotels, who has committed to address specific concerns about discrimination and harassment in an effort to improve the working environment.  Terms of the settlement are confidential.

Hotel Georgia workers want industry-settings wages and job standards commensurate to the elevated level of service they are expected to provide.  Some staff report the need to work second or third jobs to make ends meet and the need for expanded access to medical benefits.  Other issues include the lack of supplies needed to perform their work and additional concerns about safety.  The Union is currently in contract bargaining with the company to provide the best standard in the city and pressing for further safety measures, such as panic buttons and bans on guests who sexually harass staff.

Rosewood Hotel Georgia is one of five downtown hotels currently in contract bargaining with UNITE HERE Local 40 this summer.  There are approximately 1,500 hotel workers represented in the five hotels.

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For more information, contact: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected]

Media Advisory: Demonstration at Canada’s #1 hotel to call for safe, secure jobs

WHAT: UNITE HERE Local 40 will hold an action this Thursday at Rosewood Hotel Georgia, rated Canada’s #1 hotel, to create a work environment that meets its five-star standard. Hotel staff and community leaders will be calling on the owner, Pacific Reach Properties, to raise the bar when it comes to treatment of workers, especially women, in their hotel and restaurant establishments.

WHERE: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 W. Georgia, Vancouver

WHEN: Thursday, June 20, 2019; 5:00PM PST

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Contacts: Michelle Travis, (778) 960-9785, [email protected];
Sharan Pawa, 604-725-0053, [email protected]

UNITE HERE Local 40 Bylaw Amendments

Proposed bylaw amendments will be discussed and voted on during UNITE HERE Local 40’s General Membership Meeting taking place:

Wednesday, July 31st at 5pm 

BCIT Downtown Vancouver – Rm 54
(555 Seymour Street)

Click here to view or download the bylaw amendments

For any questions please contact [email protected]

Thank you, The UNITE HERE Local 40 Team

UPDATE: UNITE HERE Local 40 Press Conference at Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Vancouver – Today’s press conference, scheduled for today at 12PM, has been cancelled so that the parties can meet and attempt a resolution of all related concerns over a 10-day period.

WHAT:          UNITE HERE Local 40 press conference at Rosewood Hotel Georgia

WHERE:        Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 W. Georgia, Vancouver

WHEN:          Wednesday, June 5, 2019; 12PM PST CANCELLED

Contact: Michelle Travis, (778) 960-9785, [email protected]

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PRESS RELEASE: UNITE HERE, NDP MP Brian Masse call for investigation into privacy, security risks for Canadian companies tied to Chinese state-owned Anbang

Masse urges federal Privacy Commissioner to investigate concerns

Ottawa – UNITE HERE, the hospitality workers union, and MP Brian Masse (Windsor West), NDP Critic for Innovation, Science and Economic Development, held a press conference today on Parliament Hill to raise questions about privacy and security risks faced by those working in, or in the care of, Canadian companies tied to Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese-state owned enterprise. Anbang owns Canadian nursing home chain, Retirement Concepts, and has ties to Canada’s largest hotel company, InnVest Hotels.

Masse is calling on Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien to launch an investigation into privacy and security risks to Canadian customers, employees and operators of Chinese state-controlled Anbang and Bluesky, whose ownership is murky and its president is a former Anbang executive. The two companies have access to large troves of personally identifiable information on thousands of Canadian workers, seniors, and hotel guests.

Mounting tensions between Canada and China, in addition to news about the Chinese state’s involvement in cyber attacks, such as the intrusion into the Marriott chain compromising the personal information of nearly 500 million Starwood guests over a four-year period, should prompt Ottawa to review these investments in long-term care and hospitality.

UNITE HERE has been meeting with MP’s this week to call for action to protect workers and others whose information may be vulnerable. UNITE HERE represents hospitality workers that work in businesses owned by Pacific Reach Properties, the operator of Retirement Concepts, and Bluesky-owned InnVest Hotels. The Union sent a letter to Minister Bains and Minister Goodale earlier this month questioning whether Anbang is still compliant under the Investment Canada Act since becoming a state-owned enterprise and how Ottawa is securing Canadians’ sensitive personal data under Anbang and Bluesky’s control.

“China’s control over Anbang and its relationship to Bluesky deserves deeper scrutiny. Would Ottawa approve either of these deals today, particularly given the Chinese state’s takeover of Anbang and its aggressive posture toward Canada?” asked Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE’s B.C. Local.

An affiliate of Pacific Reach Properties sold a controlling stake in Retirement Concepts to Anbang in 2017. Ottawa approved the $1 billion transaction over strong objections from critics. One year later, the Beijing-based company was seized by Chinese authorities who subsequently transferred ownership to the state. Reports suggest Anbang may have also been behind the acquisition of InnVest Hotels, which holds a portfolio of 80 hotels across Canada. InnVest was acquired by a shell company, Bluesky Hotels, and is fronted by a former Anbang executive.

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Contact: Michelle Travis
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (778) 960-9785