On behalf of your employers, Hospitality Industrial Relations (HIR) recently applied to the Labour Relations Board (LRB) for what is known as a "last offer" or "final offer" vote under Section 78 of the Labour Relations Code. If HIR's application is in order, the LRB must direct a vote of employees to accept or reject the employers' latest offer. Forcing a last offer vote is a strong-arm tactic used by employers when they cannot get a deal done with employees' democratically-selected bargaining committee.
The bargaining committee strongly and unanimously encourages all members to vote "no" on the employers' final offer.
The final offer includes no wage increases until the date of the vote. For employees at the Best Western, this would mean working roughly two years with no raise from the last increase in January 1, 2018. For employees at the Crest, this would mean working roughly two and a half years with no raise from the last increase in July 2017. In either case, it would take several years for wages to rise under the employers' proposal to where members have said they need to be now. This is not good enough, and members deserve better.
The timing of the vote will be at the discretion of an Industrial Relations Officer from the Ministry of Labour. If members vote to accept the employers' offer, that offer forms the basis of the new collective agreement, and the bargaining process ends. If members vote to reject the employers' offer, the parties could resume bargaining and/or take other steps in an effort to reach a negotiated deal.
In the lead up to bargaining, members at both hotels told the bargaining committee they are struggling to make ends meet. We heard horror stories of members being unable to afford rent, and others who could not afford to pay up front for medical costs for the health plan to reimburse. The bargaining committee took members' needs to heart and stood firm in its demand for wages that are fair and reasonable given the level of service members provide, the local market, and what the employers can afford.
Now HIR is essentially saying that it knows better, and that members deserve no more than what the employers are offering. For the Crest, this would mean continuing to deliver four-star service for two-star wages. For the Best Western, this would mean continuing to work for much less to deliver three-star service than unionized employees earn at a nearby two-star hotel. Again, this is not good enough, and members deserve better.
We say the choice is clear: vote "no" on the employers' final offer and show HIR that the bargaining committee has members' support.
You can expect to hear from a member of the bargaining committee between now and the vote. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns or if you hear any rumours regarding bargaining.
Kelly Biln, Bargaining Committee Member (Best Western Plus Burnaby Hotel)
Aruna Singh, Bargaining Committee Member (Best Western Plus Burnaby Hotel)
Daniel Colussi, Bargaining Committee Member (Crest Hotel)
Nick Salyn, Bargaining Committee Member (Crest Hotel)
Ryan Stewart, Staff Representative, Negotiations
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