British Columbia women labor union leaders joined hundreds of protesters in support of women hotel workers laid off by the Hilton Metrotown and Pacific Gateway Hotel during the pandemic. They are demanding that hotel management recall their long-term staff.
"No more pandemic profiteering... This is not fair. This is not okay. You deserve so much better," said Teri Mooring, president of BC Teachers' Federation.
It has been more than a hundred days that the hotel workers have been out of work. It was very difficult for Liza Secretaria who was suddenly without a job after losing her brother to COVID-19. She also lost her mother-in-law to cancer last year."We haven’t heard anything from the hotel. The Hilton Metrotown did not show any commitment to bring us back," said Secretaria. "Many women like me, immigrants, single moms, women of color, are hurting because of losing their job, and the pandemic should not be the reason we lose our job. The job where we’ve worked hard for so many years."
Meanwhile, some like single mother Nadine Abenes have been laid off by another hotel since March 2020. "It’s not okay that they used the pandemic as an excuse to replace the workers... If the government doesn't help out, a lot of people will starve and we don’t want that. That’s why we are out here demonstrating to do the right thing. Give the workers recall rights," asserted Abenes.
Erie Maestro of Migrante BC said that women comprise a big chunk of workers in the hotel industry. Most of them are Filipinos and other women of color. Maestro said, "they want to go back to work and they need this work. So somebody has to take the first step. Otherwise, we will be behind these workers who will be out in the streets demanding for their jobs."
The laid-off hotel workers say their fight continues until hotel management and the B.C. government listen to their calls for help.