Hotel Worker Bargaining Committee Authorizes Strike Vote In Four Major Downtown Properties

    Workers Cite Keeping Up With the Cost of Living and Increasing
    Housekeeper Pain as Major Issues

    VANCOUVER, Aug. 17 /CNW/ - After weeks of nonproductive negotiations with
four major downtown properties, the Hyatt Regency, Renaissance Vancouver
Harbourside, the Westin Bayshore Hotel, and the Four Seasons Hotel, hotel
worker bargaining committee members authorized a strike vote that will take
place on August 29th. The strike vote would cover 1,400 workers at the four
downtown hotel properties.
    The announcement of the strike vote follows 11 negotiation sessions in
which the hotels refused to offer any economic proposals that would deal
effectively with the issues workers face on a daily basis. Most importantly,
hotel workers are concerned with the ever-increasing cost of living for
working families in Vancouver. Workers at the four downtown properties are
hoping to make hotel industry jobs good middle class jobs that can keep up
with the increasing cost of living in Vancouver.
    As the hotel industry stands to benefit from a boom in tourism, hotel
workers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to live in the city
where median home prices have exceeded $700,000. "Twenty years ago my rent was
one quarter of my monthly wages, now the cost of my rent is more than half of
my monthly wages. This makes living in Vancouver increasingly impossible.
Given this situation we have no choice but to prepare for a strike, we are
fighting for our futures and the future of jobs in our city," said Beth
Marshall a server at the Hyatt Regency.
    In recent years, the hospitality industry has become increasingly
important to the Vancouver economy. This growth of the hospitality and tourism
industry will continue as the Logging industry continues to shrink and the
2010 Winter Olympics draw renewed attention to Vancouver as an international
travel destination. Many of the hotels have invested tens of millions of
dollars in renovations in anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games. "These
hotel companies invest millions in their hotels, but refuse to invest in us,
the workers who make the hotels so profitable. We have come to work in these
hotels from different countries all over the world, with a wealth of knowledge
and experience. We deserve real respect for the hard work that we do," said
Roberto Luminarias, a 10-year stewarding employee at the Westin Bayshore
    Hotel workers also cited an increase in housekeeper workload and a
concurrent increase in housekeeper pain as a growing problem that the hotels
have failed to adequately address. "The work we do to clean each room has
increased 10 fold in the last 20 years, and so has our pain. We go home with
sore backs, swollen wrists and numb fingers. All we ask is that our jobs be
safe jobs and that they pay enough so that our families can live in dignity,"
said Shanta Prasad, a 30-year housekeeping employee at the Four Seasons.

For further information:

For further information: Press Contact: Laura Moye, (604) 788-7223

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