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Sides in Vancouver hotel strike so far apart they can’t agree on what each is offering

Bargaining is at a stand-still at the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront and Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Union organizer Keith Malone holds a cowbell that he had been banging to make noise outside the Hyatt Regency to draw attention to the hotel workers being on strike | Glen Korstrom

More than a week after workers at three major downtown Vancouver hotels went on strike, and days after a workers at a fourth hotel jointed them, there is no end in sight to the job action.

Not only are Unite Here Local 40 union representatives and hotel executives not bargaining at the Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore, Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront and Rosewood Hotel Georgia, the sides are not even on the same page when it comes to what is being offered.

The union has also been ramping up its job action to try to attract attention.

On September 26 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., the union held a demonstration outside the Hyatt that spilled over onto Burrard Street. For about 15 minutes, Burrard Street was closed, union spokesperson Sharan Pawa told Business in Vancouver.

“Hyatt, along with the other members of the GVHEA [Greater Vancouver Hotel Employers’ Association], has proposed a 15% pay increase over a four-year period, which is unprecedented for hospitality workers in Vancouver,” said Michael D’Angelo, the Hyatt’s vice-president of labor relations for the Americas.

“Hyatt Regency Vancouver has also proposed to the union stronger health and safety resources for colleagues, including personal distress devices. We are also committed to maintaining colleagues’ health benefits with no premium or co-pay increases.”

The union, he said, has rejected these offers.

Instead, the union, “is demanding Hyatt sign a neutrality-based organizing agreement on behalf of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Hyatt, along with two other GVHEA negotiating members, is not in a position to agree to [the union’s] demands for future organizing rights at hotels that we do not own or manage.”

The GVHEA has also filed an unfair labour practice complaint today against the union that alleges bad faith bargaining by sending a representative to the negotiating table who did not have the authority to enter into a collective agreement.

Pawa rejected D’Angelo’s comments, calling them “categorically untrue.”

She said that the union wants the hotels to provide job security to their staff after hotel closures and to guarantee job security for restaurant staff.

“They have failed to offer contracts that would provide basic job security to their dedicated employees, safe working conditions in their hotels, or wages that are enough to live in Vancouver,” she said.

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