Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Workers Launch Job Action; Unequal Women Stand Up to Protect Jobs

Vancouver, BC – Hilton Metrotown workers have initiated a partial strike action over job security. This comes on the heels of a round of permanent layoffs initiated by the Hilton to significantly cut staffing. The terminations affect long serving immigrant workers, many of them women who have been disproportionately impacted by the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The “she-cession” hit women first and hardest with greater job losses and underemployment in sectors decimated by the pandemic, like hospitality.

This week, the Hilton initiated a second round of unlawful permanent layoffs after receiving notice of the job action. UNITE HERE Local 40, which represents the workers, is pursuing legal steps to fight the unjust terminations.

Hilton Metrotown has refused to extend workers’ right to return to their jobs beyond 12 months despite the extenuating circumstances of a major public health crisis. Nearly 40 workers have been permanently terminated since last month; the hotel has made clear its plans to eliminate much of the staff, including women who have worked at the Hilton Metrotown for two decades.

Women who clean, cater to and care for Hilton guests are leading the fight to save hotel jobs from an industry intent on using the pandemic to slash and burn them.

“The hotel wants to get rid of everyone and hire new workers to replace us. Women who I have worked alongside for years are being terminated. That isn’t right. I’m worried about my job too. I’m 57 years old and have a young niece to support. Who will offer me a job at my age if I have to start all over again? Women like me made our hotel successful. That’s why we are leading the fight to protect our jobs,” said Gemma De la Torre, Hilton Metrotown room attendant.

“Vancouver’s tourism industry was built on the backs of women. Shame on the hotel industry for its pandemic profiteering. We say ‘No’ to unequal women in the hotel industry, because that will hurt the economic recovery for all of us,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

The Union is currently in negotiations with Hilton Metrotown.

Media Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected], or Michelle Travis, 778-960-9785, [email protected].

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel Over Reckless Mass Terminations of Long-Term Workers

Vancouver, BC — Today, UNITE HERE Local 40 announced that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the Pan Pacific Vancouver on behalf of workers wrongfully terminated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The suit, which was filed on behalf of current and former hourly employees, alleges the hotel misled workers, wrongfully terminated them without cause or notice, and were cheated out of pay owed to them for their years of service. The case was filed by a long-term employee who had worked at the hotel for 24 years until he was unexpectedly terminated along with dozens of his co-workers in August.

Early in the pandemic, hotel management concocted a plan to drastically reduce its staff from 450 workers to 80 and to dismiss the rest.  Instead of informing workers of their plans, the company sent workers repeated messages delivering false hope suggesting they intended to bring workers back.

Pan Pacific began terminating staff in batches, without cause or advance notice. The suit alleges that the hotel did this to avoid group termination provisions in the Employment Standards Act that requires advance notice and would trigger larger payouts to workers.

Between firings, the hotel offered workers $250 to sign a contract taking away their regular full-time status to become casual, on-call workers and waive their severance rights. Those who refused to sign were among those fired.

“The Pan Pacific’s actions were dishonest, self-serving, and reprehensible. Rather than keep their workforce intact, the hotel failed to communicate its termination plan to workers and strung them along with no regard for their future at a time when unemployment in the hotel sector has reached Depression-era levels. No hotel should be allowed to get away with this, which is why Pan Pacific workers are fighting back for what they deserve,” said Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40.

Many of the affected Pan Pacific workers are immigrants and women with families who have served the hotel for more than 20 or even 30 years. Had the hotel properly notified workers of its plans to drastically reduce its workforce, this class of workers could have been entitled to receive significant payouts. If successful, workers could be owed as much as $3 million.

The high-end Pan Pacific Vancouver, located at Canada Place, is owned by an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group. Westmont is one of the world’s largest privately held hospitality companies with over 500 hotels worldwide.

Media Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356, [email protected], or Michelle Travis, [email protected], 778-960-9785


UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing workers in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.