RICHMOND, B.C. — Employees at Sheraton Vancouver Airport, represented by Unite Here Local 40, went on strike Saturday.
“I am striking, because we have seen no progress in over a year of bargaining,” said Ana Wong, a room attendant for 22 years. “While the owners make a lot of money, we make peanuts compared to other union hotels and don’t have similar benefits. Our workloads are heavier, too. We may change up to 32 beds a day, lifting heavy mattresses repeatedly. Sometimes we have to work through our breaks just to finish our work. I’ve seen so many co-workers injured because of the workload, but we don’t even have the same health benefits other unionized hotel workers have.”
The hotel is one of 47 hotels, pubs and liquor stores bargaining with their employers to improve working conditions in the hospitality industry. According to the union, little progress has been made in negotiations thus far. The workers’ contracts expired May 31, 2012.
This is the first strike by hotel workers in the Vancouver area in 13 years.