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Striking Hotel Workers in Vancouver Slam Air Canada and Fiji Airways For ‘Crossing Picket Line’ By Using a Hotel at Centre of Dispute

Striking Hotel Workers in Vancouver Slam Air Canada and Fiji Airways For ‘Crossing Picket Line’ By Using a Hotel at Centre of Dispute

a group of people holding signs in front of an airplane

Air Canada and Fiji Airways have been slammed by hundreds of striking hotel workers in Vancouver over allegations that they are crossing a picket line by continuing to put passengers and aircrew up in several hotels at the centre of the dispute.

The workers, who are represented by the Unite Here Local 40 union, have been striking and picketing at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport since June 2023 due to a continuing dispute over pay and working conditions with the management company that shows no sign of being resolved any time soon.

The Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel is owned by Larco Hospitality, which also owns the Hilton and Marriott Hotels, although these two airports aren’t unionized and aren’t directly affected by the strike action.

Nonetheless, the Labour Board of British Colombia has deemed all three hotels a ‘common site’ for the purpose of the labour dispute and Unite Here has been pressuring airlines, cruise lines and other companies to boycott not only the Sheraton Hotel at Vancouver Airport but also the Hilton and Marriott Hotels.

Unite Here has already had some success, convincing five airlines to withdraw workers and any passengers from the entire hotel complex.

So far, WestJet, Porter Airlines, UPS, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines have all agreed not to cross the picket line and have been putting their crew in other hotels in the Vancouver area.

Now, Unite Here is putting pressure on Air Canada and Fiji Airways to join the ‘boycott’ by refusing to put passengers or aircrew in any of the three hotels owned by Larco Hospitality at Vancouver Airport.

While Air Canada doesn’t put crew in any of the dispute hotels, the union has accused the carrier of being Canada’s ‘Scab Airline’ over its decision to continue putting passengers in the hotels due to flight delays or cancellations.

There doesn’t, however, appear to be any sign of the airline ending its contract with Larco Hospitality anytime soon.

“Air Canada giving business to hotels behind picket lines is Disgraceful,” the union said in a statement last month. “Sending distressed passengers across our picket line is one example of Air Canada DISRESPECTING their customers”.

As for Fiji Airways, the carrier isn’t directly crossing the picket line, but pilots and cabin crew are still required to stay at the Hilton Vancouver Airport, and aircrew have even been subjected to protest action in the last month.

The union which represents Fiji Airways’ cabin crew have called on the airline to find new accommodation for their members, although Fiji Airways says contract issues have so far prevented them from moving out aircrew to a different hotel away from the dispute.

View Comments (3)
  • This story is missing vital information. This particular labour dispute is rife with internal conflict. Most of the Sheraton workers have returned to work, crossing the picket line themselves. In late 2023 the mediator resigned due to the union being unreasonable and walking out on negotiations. Hotel workers wanted to vote on the non binding agreement and end the strike which the union did not allow.
    The proposed contract included wages higher than some downtown hotels and a signing bonus.
    It’s important for readers to know the Sheraton has done everything in its power to settle this dispute whereas Local 40 wishes to prolong the strike as long as possible. Why should other labour unions support that?

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