As a minimum wage earner at one of Vancouver International Airport’s Tim Hortons, Cora Zon “somehow manages to survive” as her family’s sole breadwinner.
But Zon and 300 colleagues eking out a living at the airport’s HMSHost-run restaurants may be sent home tomorrow — and left without much-needed paycheques — if their employer makes good on a threat to lock them out.
The food service contractor issued the 72-hour lockout notice on Monday after negotiations between the company and the union failed.
Workers at Tim Hortons, Harvey’s, Milestones and several outlets have been without a contract since March 2009, and are asking for better job security, benefits and wages.
Milestones staff are set to lose their jobs after the Olympics when HMSHost replaces it with a White Spot and hires non-union staff.
“It’s like slapping us in the face,” said Zon. “The company doesn’t care how many years we’ve put in.”
“We’re asking for what we deserve and what other workers get … I wish I could just storm in and tell (HMSHost) this.”
Lynn Flandera, a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 40, which represents HMSHost employees, said these issues could have been resolved in the fall if the company had been willing to meet.
“In light of the Olympics, (this) goes against YVR’s plans to put the best face forward for the world,” she said.
Susan Goyette, communications director with HMSHost, said the company is in discussions with Local 40 to schedule meetings and restart negotiations.
“We are available immediately to meet as long and as often as necessary with the union,” she said.