Downtown hotel workers vote in favour of strike
Ian Holliday, CTV News Vancouver
Published Saturday, August 24, 2019 2:23PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 24, 2019 7:39PM PDT
Workers at four luxury hotels in downtown Vancouver have voted in favour of striking, according to their union.
Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia voted in favour of a strike mandate on Aug. 7, the same day several current and former Hotel Georgia workers filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging they were sexually harassed by prominent guests and managers.
This week, 89 per cent of workers at the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle hotels also voted to strike, according to Unite Here Local 40, which represents them.
Some 84 per cent of Hotel Georgia workers voted in favour of their strike authorization, and the union says the hotel issued a lockout notice effective Thursday. A lockout at Hotel Georgia would be "unprecedented," Unite Here said.
The union says the hotels have "failed to bargain a contract for staff with livable wages and enough hours to create jobs that can sustain a family" in Metro Vancouver.
"Safety is also a top concern as heavy workloads commonly cause injuries to workers, and several women have recently come forward about sexual harassment and assault faced on the job," the union said in a statement.
Union spokesperson Sharan Pawa said the union has bargaining meetings with representatives from the Hyatt, Westin Bayshore, and Pinnacle hotels scheduled for the coming week. Though members have authorized a strike, the union has not yet submitted a 72-hour strike notice to those hotels, Pawa said.
The union has served such notice to Hotel Georgia, meaning members could begin a strike at any time, Pawa said. She said the hotel's lockout notice functions in the same way, though she hopes the hotel will not choose to lock out workers.
"We're looking to them to act as industry leaders," Pawa said.
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to Hotel Georgia for comment. This story will be updated if and when a response is received.