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Locked-out hotel workers target German airline crew at YVR

The workers from the Hilton Metrotown in Burnaby met the Lufthansa air crew as they came out of the terminal at YVR

A dozen locked-out hotel workers took their message of protest to the horse’s mouth last week.

Knowing that crew from German airline Lufthansa crew were crossing their picket line as guests at the Hilton Metrotown hotel in Burnaby, the workers, instead, met them as they stepped out of Vancouver International Airport last Thursday.

The workers demonstrated outside YVR’s main terminal with banners addressing the flight crew in German and handed them leaflets, asking them not to cross their picket line at the hotel.

Their union, UNITE HERE Local 40, claims the hotel locked out workers last month after firing 97 staff and that the employer has “refused to commit to return long-term workers back to their jobs” as business recovers.

Other unions and Burnaby City Council have pledged not to patronize the hotel until it reinstates its workers.

Last week, the union reported the hotel to WorkSafeBC, demanding it be shut down amid claims there aren’t enough people to safely clean the 283-room facility.

The Richmond News’ sister paper, the Burnaby Now, reported recently how the union claimed the hotel had cut off almost 50 of its laid-off workers’ employment insurance benefits after locking them out.

The hotel locked out room attendants, front desk agents, banquet, and kitchen staff on April 16 after terminating 97 long-term workers in what the union called, “mass firings.”

The union has launched an online petition calling on federal Employment Minister and Delta MP Carla Qualtrough to intervene and protect the laid-off hotel workers.

Hotel workers at the Pacific Gateway in Richmond, where there is also a picket line, are in a similar position to their colleagues in Burnaby.

The Pacific Gateway, near YVR, is being used by the federal government as a quarantine hotel for airport passengers and is understood to be staffed primarily by the Red Cross.