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Another Richmond hotel breaks labour laws during workers' strike

The Radisson Blu has now broken labour codes, hot on the heels of the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel
The Radisson Blu (formerly Pacific Gateway) illegally used replacement workers during a strike

Yet another Richmond-based Vancouver Airport hotel has fallen foul of the labour laws while its employees are on strike outside.

Last week, the Richmond News reported how the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel on Westminster Highway at Minoru Boulevard was caught for a fourth time breaching the labour code, with unionized workers occupying a picket line out front.

This time it’s the Radisson Blu hotel on Cessna Drive (formerly the Pacific Gateway) that has been rebuked by the BC Labour Relations Board for illegally using replacement workers during the long-running strike.

On Wednesday, the board declared in a consent order that the employer breached the labour code by illegally using replacement workers to do the work of striking UNITE HERE members.

Workers have been on strike at the hotel for over two years, after 143 of them, all long-term employees, were laid off during the pandemic.

The employer, an affiliate of PHI Hotel Group, was caught using impermissible workers to do housekeeping and maintenance work. The employer was also found to have used four unlawful replacement workers, hired through a contractor, to perform the work of striking bargaining unit members.

The board ordered the employer to cease and desist from using impermissible replacement workers and ordered the employer to provide several disclosures on work performed at the hotel.

These include providing the union with a daily breakdown of tasks performed by all managers hired after the hotel was given notice to bargain, and a daily list of all employees, contractors and subcontractors working in the hotel each day with their respective work assignments. The employer will also be required to provide hotel occupancy information to the union.

Workers should be reinstated: Union president

“There is simply no excuse for the employer to be using unlawful replacement workers. PHI Hotel Group has an experienced, professional hotel staff who devoted years of service to this hotel,” said Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40.

“Instead of breaking the law, the owners should be returning long-term staff to their jobs and negotiating a fair contract so that they can take participate in Richmond’s booming hotel market and provide quality service to guests again.”

The hotel, while operating under the same ownership, was used by the federal government as a quarantine site for travellers arriving at YVR and received millions of dollars in government handouts as a result.