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Striking workers in Richmond have airport hotels 'surrounded'

The picketing workers at the Sheraton have been given permission to extend the lines to neighbouring sister hotels the Hilton and Marriott
Sheraton workers and their allies gathered outside Sheraton Vancouver Airport on Minoru Boulevard last week to mark one month since they walked off the job. Galileo Cheng photo

The BC Labour Board has granted a union permission to extend its picket line for striking workers to sister hotels next door.

The workers from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, on Westminster Highway, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, now have the right to picket outside of its non-union sister hotels next door – the Hilton Vancouver Airport and Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotels.

All three hotels are operated by the same company, Larco Hospitality.

On Wednesday, the Labour Board deemed the three hotels a common site and is permitting striking workers to picket the perimeter of the hotels.

Essentially, the striking workers now have the three hotels surrounded on three sides, Minoru Boulevard, Elmbridge Way and Westminster Highway, meaning hotel guests will now have to pass a picket line no matter which side they enter.

Sheraton workers walked off the job on June 14, demanding a “living wage.”

On July 17, the Labour Board declared that the Sheraton violated the Labour Code by rebooking rooms for Porter, UPS, and Xiamen flight crews from the Sheraton to neighbouring Marriot and Hilton Vancouver Airport hotels.

The Sheraton was also found to have wrongfully rebooked rooms for Air Canada and West Jet’s passengers from the Sheraton to the other two hotels, attempting to retain hotel business and undermine the strike action.

While over at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Cessna Drive (formerly the Pacific Gateway), where long-term laid-off workers have been on strike for more than two years, the Labour Board also ordered that hotel to stop illegally using staff while unionized workers are on the picket line.

The Sheraton, meanwhile, has launched a lawsuit, claiming staff who are working are being harassed by workers on the picket line and are being intimidated.