The Solidarity and Social Justice Committee of the Teaching Support Staff Union stands in unequivocal support and solidarity with the Hilton Metrotown workers including room attendants, front desk agents, laundry attendants, kitchen staff and other hourly workers.
TSSU is a labour union which also faced challenges during the pandemic. For example, Simon Fraser University has delayed bargaining for a Collective Agreement for Research Assistants and Grant Employees (RAs). We see bargaining as an important act to practice our labour rights and we were held back to negotiate for our members. Threats to a safe and supporting workplace for Hilton Metrotown workers are threats to workers rights in general including unified workers at TSSU.
Hilton Metrotown Management has fired 97 long-term employees and recently locked their workers out. They want to drastically roll-back wages and eliminate current benefits to erode decades of economic gains made by workers. Such a behaviour is deeply concerning and inappropriate.
Hilton’s actions are a clear example of taking advantage of a pandemic to fire and lock out employees, essentially holding them hostage in order to impose permanent changes, according to Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40: “This hotel wants to undermine the economic security of women and immigrant workers who put this hotel on the map. We won’t let them get away with that.” Hilton’s refusal to commit to bringing long-term workers back when work becomes available again and the subsequent lockout largely impacts women and people of colour, putting them in increasingly precarious situations already aggravated by the pandemic itself. Many of these workers also have families and children, making Hilton’s actions part of the larger accelerating poverty rate among children in BC, a rate already exacerbated by the pandemic. Hilton is opportunistically exploiting a temporary situation to permanently eliminate living-wage jobs and replace them with lower-wage, more precarious positions. As Sergio Moyer, a locked-out front desk supervisor who has worked at the hotel since it opened, states, “It is truly disheartening that hotel management has chosen to lock us out instead of working with us to get through the pandemic. The lengths at which Hilton Metrotown will go to destroy the good jobs we built over 20 years of working together is unacceptable.”
In order to build unity and solidarity as workers, it is imperative that we protect the rights of not only ourselves, but all other workers inside and outside of our workplaces. We recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all. As such, we stand in unequivocal support and solidarity with Hilton Metrotown workers and demand that Hilton Metrotown stop the lockout immediately, commit to returning to the negotiation table and allow these workers to return to their jobs.
Solidarity and Social Justice Committee, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Support Staff Union