WCCAR Supports Hilton Metrotown & Pacific Gateway Hotel Workers in Their Struggles Against the hotel
At a meeting organized by the Hilton Workers Support Committee held on Saturday, May 7 in Surrey, the West Coast Coalition Against Racism (WCCAR) expressed its full support to Hilton Metrotown and Pacific Gateway workers in their struggles for reinstatement of terminated workers as well as new collective agreements.
Hilton Metrotown workers, primarily women of colour including South Asians, have been locked out by Hilton for more than a year.
Hilton locked out room attendants, front desk agents, banquet and kitchen staff on April 15, 2021, after terminating 97 long-term staff — a move that can only be seen as a mass firing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. UNITE HERE Local 40, which represents the workers at Hilton Metrotown, is demanding that management end the lockout, reinstate all employees and offer them an agreement comparable to that enjoyed by other hotel workers in British Columbia.
Pacific Gateway hotel workers have been on strike and picketing every day since May 3, 2021. The Pacific Gateway terminated 143 long-term staff, many of them South Asian women, during the pandemic. This happened after the hotel owners allowed the federal government to take over the hotel as a quarantine site and brought in contract workers to replace the workers who were fired. Some of the workers who have been terminated had been at the hotel for 20, 30 or 40 years.
The federal government terminated its contract with the hotel earlier this year after workers pressured them to do so. But the hotel remains open to the public. So, workers continue to fight back against management’s mass firing and economic rollbacks. The hotel continues to refuse to return the 143 terminated workers to their jobs and wants to get rid of everything these workers have worked so hard to achieve (pension, job security, good wages, etc.). According to the workers, the hotel wants to hire people it can pay minimum wage and not provide them with health benefits.
Pacific Gateway is co-owned by PHI Hotel Group and an offshore Bahamas-based investor.
The BC Federation of Labour issued a public boycott edict on both hotels last year and BC's major unions have withdrawn their business as a result.
WCCAR's President, Harinder Mahil, and Vice-President, Sid Shniad, attended the May 7 meeting in Surrey and expressed the organization's full support to the workers at both hotels. They urged members of the South Asian and other communities in the Lower Mainland to extend their full support to these workers in the pursuit of their just demands.
A rally for the striking workers at Pacific Gateway is planned for Thursday, May 12 at 5pm at 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond. WCCAR urges everyone to come out to show our support!