Employer violated B.C.’s anti-scab law
Vancouver, BC —The BC Labour Relations Board has declared that the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel violated the Labour Code; the hotel used six unlawful replacement workers to perform bargaining unit work of UNITE HERE Local 40 members who are on strike.
The Labour Board has ordered the employer to cease and desist using any impermissible workers to perform the work of any bargaining unit employee that is on strike. It has also ordered that the hotel provide the Union with daily a list of all permissible replacement workers that are performing bargaining unit work on that day, with their specific assignments and duties.
“The hotel’s illegal use of replacement workers to do the jobs of our striking members showcases the lack of respect management has for its long-term workforce and what they contribute to this hotel. It also disrespects hotel guests who deserve to be provided with excellent customer service for the price they are paying – and instead are staying in a hotel with significantly scaled back guest services. We urge management to bargain with the Union and seriously address workers’ concern for livable wages, so our members can get back to work,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.
Sheraton Airport workers walked off the job on Wednesday, June 14, in a tense labour dispute over the hotel’s refusal to pay their staff a living wage. Many of the workers are struggling to keep up with the escalating cost of living in Metro Vancouver, with some working multiple jobs. The workers are picketing outside of the property daily from 7am to 7pm and advising the public to boycott Sheraton Vancouver Airport and its sister hotels next door, Hilton Vancouver Airport and Marriott Vancouver Airport, which are operated by the same company.
Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, firstname.lastname@example.org
Website informs public about ongoing labour dispute and treatment of women
Vancouver, BC – UNITE HERE Local 40 has launched a new website, www.BoycottRadissonBluYVR.ca, to inform leisure and corporate travellers, tour groups, and wedding planners about the protracted labour dispute and treatment of women at Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport.
Workers have been on strike at this hotel for two years. The Union is advising customers to boycott the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and book with alternative hotels until workers are recalled with a fair contract.
The website provides background into the dispute which began when the employer, PHI Hotel Group, terminated 143 workers during the pandemic and refused to recall them to their jobs as tourism recovered. Meanwhile, the employer raked in millions of taxpayer dollars when they allowed the hotel to be used as a mandatory quarantine site. The remaining workers went on strike in May 2021.
The website informs prospective guests about the disproportionate impact of the terminations on women, many of whom are from immigrant communities. Approximately 90% of the hotel’s housekeeping staff was terminated as were most of the restaurant staff.
“For 17 years, I worked at the hotel until they took advantage of the pandemic to fire 90% of its housekeeping staff. We made the hotel successful. We don’t deserve to be treated like we’re disposable,” said Kiran Dhillon, one of the affected room attendants.
The site advises hotel customers that current services at the 400-room hotel are limited given the impact of the mass terminations and ongoing strike.
Richmond City Council has resolved not to use the hotel until an agreement has been reached with the workers. The BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress have endorsed a hotel boycott. Visitors to the website will find information about fair hotels to consider using for alternative bookings.
The hotel, formerly Pacific Gateway, was recently rebranded as a Radisson Blu. It is majority owned by an affiliate of Surrey-based PHI Hotel Group which also operates hotels in B.C. and Alberta.
Media Contacts: Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, email@example.com, or Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, sharan@unitehere40com.
Prince George, BC — Workers involved in Friday’s crash along a forest service road north of Prince George had raised concerns earlier this year about being forced to bus up to four hours a day to and from the Coastal GasLink worksite. Thirty members of UNITE HERE Local 40 were aboard a bus that flipped over while traveling from Prince George to the camp site. The crash injured 18 people on the bus. The affected workers are housekeepers at Coastal GasLink’s Parsnip Lodge, the large majority of whom are immigrant women.
“Our first concern is with our members and their families who have gone through a terrifying experience. This never should have happened. Workers told management that this was not safe. We expect Horizon North to work with the Union to ensure workers’ health and safety is prioritized and not put at risk,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.
UNITE HERE Local 40 filed a grievance against Horizon North, which manages the Lodge, earlier this year after management unilaterally moved all the housekeepers out of the camp and began bussing them to and from the site. Workers are expected to travel up to four hours each day to and from camp, and along a forest service road, because they are no longer provided housing at the camp.
The Union is calling on management to house Lodge workers onsite, as they are required to do in the collective agreement. The Union and management are currently in arbitration, which is expected to conclude this week.
Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, email@example.com
For Immediate Release:
Vancouver area hotels are booming; now it is workers’ turn to recover.
Vancouver, BC — UNITE HERE Local 40 members at Sheraton Vancouver Airport, a popular convention hotel, walked off the job at 7AM this morning and onto the picket line. Sheraton Airport workers – including room attendants, banquet servers, front desk agents, and food service workers – who served on the front lines throughout the pandemic say their wages are not enough to afford to live in Metro Vancouver.
Sheraton Airport workers welcome the world to Vancouver, but they cannot afford to live here; most of the hotel staff earn less than the Metro Vancouver living wage of $24.08 per hour. The hotel’s room rates are selling for as much as $400 a night or more. Room revenues for Vancouver airport hotels increased 32% on average this year over the same period in 2019.
“I’m angry that I’ve worked at this hotel for 6 years, but I’m only making 20 cents over minimum wage. Inflation continues to rise, and we need living wages now so we can provide for ourselves and our families in Metro Vancouver – we deserve to live in the city where we work! Our hotel is always busy and making money, yet we are getting left behind,” said Felisha Perry, banquet server.
In a recent survey of local hotel workers conducted by the union, 46% of respondents have had to forgo fresh food to keep up with the rising cost of living in Metro Vancouver. 89% of hotel workers surveyed said they have had to give something up to afford their cost of living, such as family support or medical care.
A majority of Sheraton Airport workers are women and immigrants. Many struggled during the pandemic to make ends meet and are working more than one job to pay the bills. They are seeking wage increases that are comparable to other high-end convention hotels, banquet gratuity transparency to ensure tips are correctly distributed, and a guarantee that guest rooms will be cleaned daily.
MEDIA: Members of the press are invited to the picket line, which will run every day from 7am to 7pm outside of the hotel at 7551 Westminster Highway in Richmond. Union representatives and striking workers are available for interviews by contacting Sharan Pawa at 604-710-1693 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNITE HERE Local 40 represents thousands of hospitality workers across B.C. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.
Workers win immediate wage increases, improve retirement benefits
Prince George, BC – On Friday, UNITE HERE Local 40 members at the Ramada Prince George voted to ratify a new collective agreement. Workers voted 100% in favour of the contract, securing significant wage gains to meet the rising cost of living.
In their new four-year agreement, workers bargained a $2 wage increase starting June 1, 2023, and a total wage increase of 16.5 – 19.5% over the next 2 years for Front Desk Agents, Room Attendants and Baristas. Other highlights of the new contract include improved retirement benefits, with the hotel contributing 45% more to the workers’ retirement plan by 2025, and new Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee language which will allow management and workers to collaboratively address health and safety issues at the hotel.
Ramada Prince George workers put themselves on the frontlines and maintained high standards for guests during the pandemic. They are pleased to now reach an agreement with management that provides them with sustainable, family-supporting jobs in Prince George.
“We’ve needed this change for a long time and are happy with this hard-fought outcome. It’s been an honour working with the Union to achieve our new contract. By my co-workers and I standing united, we can now look forward to our future at this hotel,” said Monisa Boudreau, a housekeeper at Ramada Prince George.
The contract win for Ramada Prince George workers averts a strike and ensures they will continue to provide their service to guests. Workers issued 72-hour strike notice on May 29 after months at the bargaining table.
Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, email@example.com