RICHMOND, British Columbia — “We are staying strong in our fight for a living wage. Solidarity from other unions is very important,” Ana Wong, a housekeeper for over 30 years at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport and member of UNITE HERE Local 40, told the Militant on the picket line Aug. 2.
Over 200 housekeepers, banquet staff, front desk workers, shuttle bus drivers and Starbucks workers at the Sheraton walked off the job June 14. They are also demanding better working conditions.
“For all classifications of workers we get about $5 an hour less here than hotel workers get in Vancouver. It’s not enough to survive,” union organizer Mat Demarky said. “We’ve been getting support from the longshore workers. We participated and brought solidarity to their strike rally July 9 in Vancouver.”
Strikers have been picketing outside two nearby nonunion hotels, the Hilton Vancouver Airport and Marriott Vancouver Airport hotels, as well, Demarky said. “They are all owned by the same company, Larco Hospitality.” Five airlines stopped sending flight crews there.
“This owner has gotten rich off the backs of our labor,” said Manfred Sandhu, a shuttle bus driver for 32 years. “When this owner built the Marriot and Hilton my workload increased without an increase in pay.”
“Air Canada is sending passengers across our picket lines,” union spokesperson Sharan Pawa told a rally at the airport Aug. 4. “We’re here to protest that, to ask Air Canada to respect our striking hotel worker members.” Join the picket lines! They’re up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.