On the Picket Line

10 months on the picket line, Vancouver hotel workers rally

By Beverly Bernardo
March 7, 2022

BURNABY, British Columbia — “Ten months on the picket line is too long!” UNITE HERE Local 40 member Lisa Secretaria told 40 locked-out workers at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Hotel here Feb. 14. It’s a favorite destination for weddings in this area, so workers used Valentine’s Day to organize a mock wedding where the newlyweds vowed not to “tie the knot” at their hotel, holding up a banner saying, “Don’t get married at the Hilton Metrotown.” 

The workers were locked out on April 15, just after the hotel bosses fired 97 long-term housekeepers, cooks, servers, front-desk staff and others and the unionists had staged a one-day protest strike. The hotel wants to eliminate daily room sanitizing, which raises workers’ safety concerns and threatens their jobs, and is seeking major concessions. 

“The fact is that over the 10-month lockout we got solidarity from a lot of unions. Not just local, but nationally,” Secretaria told the Militant  on the picket line Feb. 11. “A retired teacher has been bringing us breakfast such as brownies for nine months! We have people dropping by and giving us $50 for coffee. It gives us the strength to keep fighting.” 

Pickets explained the union members aren’t entitled to unemployment, but the federal government has provided the company with wage subsidies. 

The union has set up a hardship fund to help the locked-out workers at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/hilton-metrotown-workers-hardship-fund. Messages of solidarity can be sent to updates@local40union.com.