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Long-awaited contract brings mixed fortunes for Richmond hotel workers

Steveston Hotel workers getting a new deal, while former Pacific Gateway employees still out in the cold
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The Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond. File photo

There were mixed fortunes for hospitality workers in Richmond after its union members voted to ratify a new four-year contract.

Workers at the Steveston Hotel will benefit from the new deal agreed between Unite Here Local 40 and Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR), which represented hotels and other hospitality outlets across the province in the lengthy negotiations.

However, the impasse between the Pacific Gateway Hotel on Cessna Drive, near YVR, and its union members continues, with many of them out of work for more than a year.

More than 1,000 hospitality workers – including hotels, motels, pubs, and liquor stores in - 14 cities across B.C. will get “standard-setting extended recall rights, protections for union health care and pensions,” according to their union.

The union said its members “overwhelmingly voted by 80% to ratify a new four-year agreement,” which includes an extension of recall rights for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic — through to July 1, 2023 or when the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the pandemic is over.

As well as winning unlimited recall rights to cover future crises such as pandemics and natural disasters, the workers won longer recall protection for regular seasonal layoffs, increasing from six months to 12.

The union, however, has not managed to strike a deal with management at Pacific Gateway, which was taken over predominantly by the federal government as a quarantine hotel soon after the pandemic kicked off and has been staffed by Red Cross workers.