SMA for Gender & Economic Justice
2791 Alma Street
4794 Fraser St.
The Single Mothers’ Alliance BC and Migrante BC conduct community organizing and advocacy towards racial and gender justice on unceded xʷməθkʷiy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.
BC Hotel Association
200 - 948 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N9
ATTN: Ingri Jarrett, via email: [email protected]
CC: Chris Perna, Hilton Metrotown General Manager, Gary Collinge, Pan Pacific General Manager; Eda Koot, General Manager, Pacific Gateway Hotel; Fairmont Waterfront Hotel; Marion Harper Treskin, JW Marriott Parq Hotel
CC: The Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, The Honourable Harry Bains, Ministry of Labour; The Honourable Mitzi Dean, Ministry of Children and Family Development; The Honourable Ravi Kahlon, Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation; The Honourable Melanie Mark, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; The Honourable Nicholas Simons, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction; Rachna Singh, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives; Grace Lore, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity; Nikki Sharma, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits
May 14th, 2021
RE: Call for hotel employers to sustain the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of hard-working women hospitality workers in BC
Dear Hotel Employers:
We are writing in solidarity and support for Unite Here Local 40’s BC’s Unequal Women campaign, launched on March 8th, 2021. We understand the immense pressure the hotel industry has sustained due to ongoing shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, laying off upwards of 50,000 hotel workers when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Based on information from Unite Here Local 40, we understand the majority of these workers are racialized women, many of them single mothers struggling to support their children right now in BC. We understand that very few have been brought back to date, many have been fired, and jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance.
We are deeply concerned that major hotel employers in BC are exploiting the situation of the pandemic to permanently terminate long term employees who are disproportionately racialized women. We are gravely concerned about the replacing of long-term unionized workers with non-unionized workers at minimum wages, and without benefits. Recent research and data on the impact of COVID-19 reveal that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted racialized low wage women workers, and that women represent the majority of workers hardest hit by economic shutdown.
It is a well-documented fact that the pandemic has been particularly damaging to those already experiencing intersecting forms of discrimination. The SMA for Gender & Economic Justice, Migrante BC, and the allied organizations, stakeholders and individuals who have co-signed this letter, advocate for an equitable world where no one is left behind due to their racialized identity or gender. Where situations due to the pandemic threaten to compound systemic racism and gender inequality in BC, and families hang in the balance, we must speak up urgently. We are appealing to you to take all action necessary to ensure the actions of hotel employers do not rollback immediate and long-term economic outcomes for racialized women workers in the hospitality sector in BC. Such actions on the part of employers increase precarity and lower wages, permanently worsening conditions in a woman-dominated workforce that has fought long and hard for the jobs and rights they enjoy as workers.
We are calling on all hotel employers to ensure that all employees laid off due to the pandemic are permitted to return to their original jobs with their original benefits and wages, without exception. We are also calling on all hotel employers that have already terminated workers to reinstate them immediately and enable their right to recall when the sector opens up again.
It is imperative to protect the family-supporting unionized jobs with benefits that women and all workers in this province need and deserve; ‘Beautiful BC’ depends on it.
Viveca Ellis, Provincial Organizer
Chris Sorio, Secretary-General
According to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report ‘Women, work and Covid-19: Priorities for supporting women and the economy’ by Katherine Scott, women represent the majority of workers in sectors hardest hit by the economic shutdown in the first and second waves of COVID-19 infection. The report cites that 2.8 million women lost their job or were working less than half of their regular hours as a result of the March 2020 economic lockdown; this includes many of BC’s 50,000 hospitality and hotel workers who are predominantly women-identifying.
The pandemic has also disproportionately impacted low wage workers and Black, racialized and Indigenous workers. Women, work and COVID-19 states that fully half (52%) of all low-wage workers earning $14 an hour or less were laid off or lost the majority of their hours between February and April 2020. This included 58% of low wage women. Black, racialized, and Indigenous women working in hard-hit sectors and occupations bore the brunt of the first wave of employment losses. The CCPA further states that in July 2020, there was a seven percentage point difference in the employment rate between racialized and non-racialized women (57.7% vs 64.4%) and a more than an eight-percentage point difference in their unemployment rate.
To sign the letter please click here.
For further information or media inquiries please email [email protected]
 Katherine Scott, Women, work and Covid-19. Ottawa: CCPA, March 2021. https://www. policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/women-work-and-covid19