Union reaches tentative deal with downtown Vancouver hotels

Oct 15 2019, 3:47 pm

After the union representing workers at four downtown Vancouver hotels launched an “indefinite” worker strike last month, a spokesperson for the union said on Tuesday that a tentative agreement has now been reached with some of them.

“Early this morning, a tentative agreement was reached between UNITE HERE Local 40 and the Westin Bayshore, Hyatt Regency, Pinnacle Harbourfront, and Four Seasons hotels, representing approximately 1,500 downtown Vancouver hotel workers,” said union spokesperson Sharan Pawa in a release.

“This ground-breaking agreement secures significant wage increases for hotel staff over a four- year period, implements protections against sexual harassment, strengthens job security for room attendants and kitchen and restaurant workers, and maintains health insurance.”

Last month, nearly 200 Rosewood Hotel Georgia employees walked off the job, demanding safer working conditions, after negotiations with the hotel broke down.

UNITE HERE Local 40, the union that represents BC’s hospitality workers said in a statement that Hotel Georgia employees have been “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.”

Around the same time, hotel workers from the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, and Pinnacle Harbourfront hotels, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, walked off the job.

According to the union, the strike is an “escalation” in a dispute which the union says began 14 months ago and relates primarily to the failure “to address significant outstanding issues related to workload, safety, and job security.”

The strike action by the workers – which includes room attendants, chefs, front desk agents, and other staff – is the first in almost two decades, the union said.

“Our strike has made the changes we need in the hotel industry,” said Teresita Gonzales, a room attendant supervisor at the Pinnacle Harbourfront hotel said.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visited the striking workers for a lunch-hour meet-and-greet on Monday.