Unite Here Local 40 says the workers at the The Pacific Gateway Hotel voted to strike after the hotel threatened to terminate workers laid-off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Workers at a federal quarantine hotel for travellers near the Vancouver airport have voted 91 per cent in favour of a strike, according to the union.

Unite Here Local 40 says the workers at the The Pacific Gateway Hotel voted to strike after the hotel threatened to terminate workers laid-off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pacific Gateway Hotel has been contacted for a response to the strike vote.

The union claims the hotel refuses to recall their staff when business recovers, and that it has plans to terminate the majority of its workers by the end of March.

Picket lines could go up any time after workers issue 72-hour strike notice, the union said Friday morning.

The union says layoffs will hit women of colour the hardest, and job losses will disproportionately impact older immigrant women from the South Asian, Chinese, and Filipino communities who have served the hotel for decades.

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The union adds that workers have been displaced since the government brought in the Red Cross to replace them and perform similar job duties.

Union president Zailda Chan says women at the hotel are on the verge of losing everything they worked so hard for when they immigrated to Canada.

“Will Prime Minister Trudeau allow this to happen?  We cannot allow hotels like Pacific Gateway to roll back the clock on women’s economic livelihoods,” Chan said, in a statement Friday.

Union spokesperson Stephanie Fung said the hotel recently fired a dozen workers, with up to 19 years on the job.

The majority of workers haven’t had shifts since the pandemic hit, so that puts 140 to 150 workers at risk of permanently losing their jobs by the end of March, added Fung.

“The hotel has made it clear they have no interest in extending time for workers to return.”

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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