Burnaby, B.C. – Food and beverage workers at Nanaimo Golf Club have voted 85% in favor of authorizing a strike in response to non-productive negotiations with the Club. The two dozen servers, cooks, bartenders, dishwashers and janitors, members of UNITE HERE Local 40, served 72 hour strike notice to the Club on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
Clubhouse staff – some of whom have worked at the Club for over a decade – are seeking to improve access to medical coverage and dental benefits, improve wages, instate a retirement benefit and to ensure that new employees receive adequate entry-level wages.
The Club has refused to expand eligibility for staff to obtain medical coverage or offer better dental benefits. The Club is offering workers increases worth less than 1% in the first year and has even threatened to take away employees’ meal benefit. When the Club was asked to reconsider, the Club offered a limited meal benefit of merely soup and bread.
The Golf Club recently invested $4 million to replace its old clubhouse with a 23,000 square foot facility with an expanded restaurant, lounge, banquet halls and locker room facilities for members and guests.
“The Club has invested millions of dollars into their new clubhouse. Food and beverage workers want to know why the Club isn’t investing in its staff,” said Shelly Ervin, Local 40 negotiator. “We know members and guests appreciate the service our members provide. However, the staff is quite disappointed with the Club’s current approach to negotiations,” said Ervin.
UNITE HERE! Local 40 members keep improving standards for all of Vancouver’s hotel workers. Our union has set the standard for hotel workers locally in recent years by introducing room attendant workload protections, raising wages, and now, by reducing the cost of getting to and from work. On May 1st workers at the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle and Four Seasons hotels will receive an employer paid 15% reduction in the cost of transit. Following our lead, two non-union hotels have also adopted this new benefit.
Union activists and staff kicked off our transit campaign, “Hello to Go”, a year ago. We went out and talked with thousands of hotel workers, Union and non-Union, about one step they could all take together to make Vancouver a more affordable place to live.
Local 40 made transit a key bargaining issue last summer. We also drew attention to this campaign when hotel member, Hyatt engineer Ferdinand “Ding” Ramos, ran for Vancouver City Council in the Fall of 2014. He ran proudly as a hotel worker, talked about how important tourism is to the local economy and called on the City to help reduce the cost of transit. Ding received an impressive 8,000 votes, but more importantly, he captured the attention of politicians, hotel workers and their employers.
Ding’s campaign pushed Local 40 negotiations forward, winning the 15% transit discount in six Vancouver hotels – four Union and two non-Union.
With this contract victory, Local 40 is proud to join Toronto, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu for negotiations in 2018. In the meantime, the Union will continue to push for further reductions in the cost of transit for hospitality workers.
Ferdinand Ramos just received another endorsement from a prominent elected leader in Vancouver! Vancouver-Kensington MLA, Mable Elmore, has endorsed Ferdinand’s campaign for Vancouver City Council. In endorsing Ferdinand’s campaign, Mable said the following:
“Ferdinand is a proven leader in the hospitality industry. His campaign is already making a difference in the lives of thousands of tourism workers by securing a 15% transit discount for employees in the Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons, Westin Bayshore, Renaissance and Sutton Hotels. I support Ferdinand Ramos for Vancouver City Council. Vote for Ferdinand Ramos. Let’s make sure Vancouver works for everyone!”
If you live in Vancouver, vote TOMORROW for Ferdinand Ramos, Hotel Workers United, City Council, Geoff Meggs, Vision Vancouver, City Council, Gregor Robertson, Vision Vancouver Mayor and Sammy Jo Rumbaua, Vision Vancouver, Park Board.
If you live in Surrey, Ferdinand and Mable urge you to vote for Narima Dela Cruz for Surrey City Council.
UNITE HERE Local 40 is proud to endorse Irene Lanzinger for President of the BC Federation of Labour. Irene is a proven labour leader, with vast experience as Chief Negotiator and President of the BC Teachers Federation. She is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour.
“The first time I met Irene I knew she was a real fighter,” said Robert Demand, President of UNITE HERE Local 40. “Our members at the Delta Hotel in Richmond were locked in tough contract negotiations and they had asked other unions for support. Irene, as President of the BC Teachers Federation, was the first to jump into action. She was decisive and tough. Irene went to the hotel and made it clear to management that either they settle a fair contract now or the Teachers Federation would cancel all future business. The hotel settled and the workers at the Delta won UNITE HERE’s Vancouver hotel standard. Irene understood the fight then and she knows the challenges working people face now. We need Irene Lanzinger as President of the BC Federation of Labour.”
For more information on Irene’s campaign, visit irenelanzinger.ca or contact Phillip Legg at 604-788-2877