The union representing up to 120 hotel workers, temporarily laid off in Richmond, is hitting out, claiming the hotel in question has started a round of “mass firings.”
Zailda Chan, president of Unite Here Local 40, blasted the apparent move at the Pacific Gateway on Cessna Drive, near YVR, which is currently being used by the federal government to quarantine passengers arriving at the airport.
Having little or no communication with hotel management, the union has found it difficult to get a handle on how many workers – many of them long-term staff – have been permanently let go.
Up to 120 of the 150 unionized staff were temporarily laid off at the start of the pandemic, but still had extended rights until the end of January this year to return to work, if needed by the hotel.
A skeleton crew of workers is understood to be keeping the hotel running, while the Richmond News was told by the union last fall that Red Cross workers were looking after the quarantined hotel guests on behalf of the government.
“The depths to which the industry will go to undermine the job security of women and immigrant workers is astounding,” said Chan.
“All the industry’s talk about being in this together is nothing more than lip service to lobby the government for more relief.
The backbone of the hotel industry is women - many of them immigrants who have invested years in these hotels while supporting families and communities on these jobs.
“Now, they are being discarded like workers out of a 19th century garment factory. Workers will be taking action to stop the industry’s attack on women and immigrant workers. No one should lose their job because of the pandemic.”
As well as the Pacific Gateway, the union claimed the same move was being made at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown.
Both hotels, said Chan, have refused to bring workers back when the industry recovers.
The News has reached out to the Pacific Gateway for comment.