Union calls for investigation into worker abuse at Pan Pacific Vancouver – BC


A Vancouver city councilor and a union of BC hotel workers are calling for an investigation to review the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel for the treatment of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Workers are telling us (that Pan Pacific Vancouver) is hiring anyone, people who have no hotel experience, rather than bringing back former employees, who voted for a union,” said Matt de Marchi, a Spokesperson for Unite Here Local 40. .

Unite Here Local 40, a union of hotel workers in British Columbia that represents more than 5,000 workers, said management at the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel is refusing to recall nearly 200 workers who have not worked For years.

“The union is calling for careful consideration of hotel management’s refusal to recall workers, primarily women of color, permanently laid off during the pandemic or the approximately 90 custodial employees who have not worked since March 2020,” said Michelle Travis, spokeswoman for the union. .

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A Vancouver city councilor expressed her support for the workers.

“As visitors return to Vancouver, we must ensure that the rights of hotel workers are respected. This is why I stand with hotel employees out of concern for what is happening at Pan Pacific Vancouver,” said Vancouver City Councilor Christine Boyle.

“The stories I’ve heard are unconscionable, especially as they impact low-wage workers of color.”

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Those stories include cases of layoffs and harsh layoffs early in the pandemic, the union told Global News on Friday.

“The company asked full-time workers (some with 20-30 years of hotel experience) to sign an agreement requiring them to give up their regular full-time status to become on-call casual workers,” Travis said.

“(If signed), workers would receive $250 and were promised they could continue working (instead of being fired).”

The employer then decided to fire a number of these workers, even after they had signed the agreement, the union said.

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Pan Pacific workers voted to unionize in August 2020 in response to “mass layoffs”.

“Since then, workers have faced management’s refusal to return long-serving staff to their posts, unfair labor practices and delays in negotiating a first contract,” Travis said.

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The union suspects that the employer did not offer the former employees their previous jobs because of their union vote.

The hotel is owned by Mississauga-based Westmont Hospitality Group, an international company that owns and operates hotels.

Although no one was available for an interview on Friday, a Westmont Hospitality Group spokesperson said the company “simply owns the property” and has nothing to do with running the hotel.

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Upon hearing the response, Unite Here Local 40 had some choice words.

“I think it’s really shocking (to hear),” Travis said. “(Westmont Hospitality Group) has owned this hotel for over 20 years and ultimately they appeal to what goes on inside their hotel. I think it is interesting that they draw attention to their managers working at the hotel.

A former janitor filed a class action lawsuit against the hotel last year for wrongful termination, leading a B.C. Supreme Court judge to certify the lawsuit, the union said.

Additionally, the BC Labor Relations Board found that hotel management committed unfair labor practices and violated the Labor Code by refusing to recognize the inclusion of on-call workers in the bargaining unit.

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Boyle said she will host a public event in September to hear from affected workers about their experiences with Pan Pacific Vancouver, as a first step in a potential investigation.

Global News has contacted Pan Pacific Vancouver and Westmont Hospitality Group for further comment.

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