On Friday, December 17, hotel workers in Vancouver, British Columbia, overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract with the Greater Vancouver Hotel Employers Association (GVHEA). The terms of the agreement contain improvements in health benefits, including the goal of expanding workers’ year-around access to medical coverage. This means fewer hotel workers and their families will risk losing their benefits during part of the year. Workers also secured greater dental coverage for their families.
"One of the most important gains we made was improving eligibility for health care benefits. Now more of our co-workers will keep their extended health care and dental benefits during slower parts of the year. I am also happy we won housekeeping workload relief which means housekeepers will no longer have to skip their breaks to finish rooms, can rely less on painkillers, and actually get to enjoy the time they spend with their families after work – instead of losing that time due to pain," said Nadeen Abenes, a Hyatt room attendant and member of the union bargaining committee.
Improved retirement security was another major goal. Workers secured the largest pension increase they have negotiated to date in any previous GVHEA contract. This was a victory for the many long-term workers who have given 15, 20, and some, 30 years or more, of service to these hotels.