One day after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh walked the picket line outside the Westin Bayshore, the workers have made a major breakthrough.
Today, Unite Here Local 40 announced a tentative agreement for 1,500 downtown hotel employees after a strike lasting nearly four weeks.
In addition to the Westin Bayshore, the deal also covers striking employees at the Hyatt Regency and Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, as well as workers at the Four Seasons Vancouver.
The terms of the tentative agreement have not been released, and it still requires a ratification vote by the members.
"This ground-breaking agreement secures significant wage increases for hotel staff over a four-year period, implements protections against sexual harassment, strengthens job security for room attendants and kitchen and restaurant workers, and maintains health insurance," the union said on its website.
There's no agreement with the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, where picketing continues.
“Our strike has made the changes we need in the hotel industry!" Pinnacle Harbourfront room attendant supervisor Teresita Gonzalez said in a union statement. "I’m very happy about the workload reductions for room attendants. The job security we’ve won is also great for our members, our families and will keep our union strong. I’m very proud of our members, we’ve picketed through rain and cold weather for this fight, and we feel united and strong with this tentative agreement reached.”
The deal came not long after the Straight posted a story about a room attendant at the Westin Bayshore, Yleine Demasana.
Prior to the agreement, the union's president, Zailda Chan, told the Straight that the workers contribute to the prosperity of these hotels.
"I’m very proud," Chan said at the time. "This strike has changed all of us. It’s changed every striker on the picket line. It tells the hotel: don’t underestimate us.”
The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union announced last week that it was providing a $3-million loan to Unite Here Local 40 to enable it to continue placing pressure on the employer. In addition, the B.C. Federation of Labour announced a boycott of all the hotels that were behind picket lines.