Hundreds of Harrison Hot Springs Resort employees face a potential lockout on Friday (April 30) afternoon amid a labour dispute involving UNITED HERE Local 40. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Hundreds of Harrison Hot Springs Resort employees face a potential lockout on Friday (April 30) afternoon amid a labour dispute involving UNITED HERE Local 40. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Friday lockout looms for Harrison resort workers

Hospitality union, employer group remain at odds

More than 1,000 hospitality workers across more than a dozen B.C. cities – including hundreds of Harrison Hot Springs workers – face a lockout at the end of this week if UNITE HERE Local 40 and Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR) can’t come to an agreement by deadline.

Following a yet-unresolved labour dispute, the B.C. Labour Relations board delivered a 72-hour lockout notice to UNITE HERE on Tuesday, April 28. Members of the province-wide union held a press conference on Thursday (April 29).

UNITE HERE Local 40 executive officer Robert Demand expressed fears that 32 employers across B.C., including Harrison Hot Springs Resort, would rather fire current staff and replace them when the COVID-19 pandemic allows for travel again.

RELATED: Harrison Hot Springs Resort employees face lockout amid labour dispute

“Instead of working together during a crisis, many employers are undermining economic security, which could drive working conditions back decades,” Demand said. Demand pointed out that this lockout would disproportionately affect women and people of colour, who make up a majority of the affected workforce.

The previous contract between HIR and UNITE HERE expired in May 2020 and has been in negotiations ever since; there have been more than 13 bargaining sessions to date.

One of the main points of contention is the union’s push for extended recall rights, which would give current employees protection and allow them to return to work when work is available again. Demand said the union seeks job protection heading into the early summer months of 2023 as “a myriad of factors” related to the pandemic could further hinder the tourism industry for several more months.

UNITE HERE has written a letter to HIR calling on employers to join in asking Vancouver-based labour mediator Vince Ready to help both parties reach an agreement before 3:49 p.m. on Friday.

READ ALSO: B.C. restaurants to get COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ grant extension

“We hope employers will take this approach to avoid lockout as a summer of tourism approaches,” Demand said.

Demand called on the provincial government to intervene on behalf of the tourism industry.

“This could have been stopped if the province stepped up and responded to the COVID crisis in hospitality with the same urgency they addressed the needs of healthcare workers,” he said.

Jan Budd, who could be affected by the lockout, has worked as a kitchen helper for more than 30 years at the Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown.

“If my hotel locks me out, it will be a big financial burden,” she said during the April 29 press conference. “I’m barely getting by with the few shifts I’m working now. I’m 61 and I don’t want to start all over again at minimum wage.”

The communities affected by the current lockout threat are: Vancouver, Victoria, Coquitlam, Richmond, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Harrison Hot Springs, Kamloops, Castlegar, Fort St. John, Port Alberni, Mackenzie and Prince Rupert

Village of Harrison Hot Springs officials have declined to comment. The Observer has also reached out to Harrison Hot Springs Resort for further comment.


@adamEditor18
adam.louis@ ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BusinessHarrison Hot Springs

Just Posted

Transit Future Action Plan for Chilliwack and FVRD aimed at increasing services over five years and restoring ridership to pre-COVID levels. (BC Transit)
Future planning for Chilliwack transit aims to restore ridership lost to pandemic

Transit future plan envisions adding peak buses and service hours over next five years

Items seized by RCMP during a May 13 raid on Butchart Street. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP seize guns and drugs during raid on Butchart Street property

Police executed a search warrant on a home May 13, arresting one man at the scene

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Looking out over the Fraser Valley from Chipmunk Ridge from the proposed Bridal Veil Mountain Resort. (BVMR)
Chance to ask questions about gondola resort proposal near Chilliwack

Project team for Bridal Veil Mountain Resort is holding another virtual info session

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Vancouver Police Department)
Vancouver police ID 6 gangsters who pose a ‘public safety risk,’ launch gang task force

VPD asking public to stay away from these six people, who they say may be targeted in shootings

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

Most Read