On Friday, February 26, workers from the Pacific Gateway Hotel, a federal quarantine hotel in B.C., voted to strike. 

In an interview with Narcity, Michelle Travis from UNITE HERE Local 40, the union representing the hotel staff, told us why the strike has come about and how the preceding circumstances have disproportionately impacted immigrant women

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Travis spoke to the circumstances at the Pacific Gateway specifically, saying that the location has been a federal quarantine hotel since soon after the pandemic originally struck last spring. 

Quarantine hotels are designated places for people to carry out government-mandated quarantine periods. Canadia's new travel restrictions have just brought more establishments on as federal quartine hotels for returning travellers. 

Narcity has reached out to the Pacific Gateway Hotel for comment and we will update this story when we receive a response. 

"They brought the Red Cross in early on, and they’re doing some of the jobs that our folks would be performing, whether it’s cleaning rooms after people leave or delivering food, those jobs have been given to the Red Cross," she told us. 

She said that workers have recall protection up to 12 months, but "because the federal government has taken over the hotel for an extended period of time, the hotel owner and management has used that as an excuse to begin terminating workers."

"It really affects a lot of older immigrant women, some of whom have worked at that hotel for 40 years. They’ve raised their children on these jobs," Travis continued.

She said that around 70 or 80% of the workers are immigrants, calling their situation "devastating."

“This is not the time to be slashing and burning working women immigrants when we could be coming out of this by the end of the year."

This article's cover photo is for illustrative purposes only.