UNITE HERE Launches Website Warning Contractors and Hotel Suppliers – ‘Beware RBI Group of Companies’

Vancouver — The hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 40, has launched a new website for BC and Alberta-based contractors considering doing business with RBI Group of Companies: BewareRBIGroup.org.  Dozens of businesses have sued RBI Group with some alleging over tens of thousands in unpaid bills. The union launched the site after analyzing more than 50 lawsuits filed against RBI, PHI Hotel Group, and other related companies.

BewareRBIGroup.org discloses a wide range of businesses that have filed suit against Surrey, BC-based RBI Group of Companies, from hotel furniture manufacturing and bedding suppliers to steel fabrication and transport companies. Legal documents reveal a pattern of allegations against RBI Group and its president, Sukhminder Rai, which include failing to pay invoices, failing to properly represent which entities contractors were dealing with, and one claimant accusing Rai of falsifying documents.

The new website cautions prospective businesses to protect themselves if they plan to work with RBI Group or its affiliates by:

  • Demanding cash payment upfront;
  • Verifying the entity they are contracting with; and,
  • Ensuring that the relevant entity matches the company appearing on their cheques.

RBI Group encompasses affiliates involved in construction, concrete forming, and hotel development through RBI Construction, RBI Forming, RBI Developments, and hotel operator, PHI Hotel Group.  Surrey businessman and berry farmer Charan Rai founded RBI in 1989. His son, Sukhminder “Sukhi” Rai, serves as president of the group and claims that it is one of Western Canada’s biggest hotel development companies.

UNITE HERE Local 40 represents workers at Pacific Gateway Hotel, which is majority owned by PHI Hotel Group.  During the pandemic, the hotel terminated over 140 long-term workers. In May, a human rights complaint over sex and racial discrimination was filed on behalf of 90 women fired by the hotel.  Remaining workers have been on strike to protest mass terminations during the temporary Covid-19 crisis.

“The long history of litigation against RBI’s family of companies suggests an alarming pattern of allegations: stiffing business partners, corporate shell games, and costly legal battles in order to secure payment.  This coupled with mistreatment of hotel workers at Pacific Gateway reveals a company built on questionable and disrespectful practices,” said UNITE HERE Local 40 president Zailda Chan. “Companies like RBI Group and PHI Hotel Group must be held accountable. Whether you supply hotel beds or clean hotel rooms, you deserve to be treated fairly by RBI Group.”

Contact: Stephanie Fung, [email protected], 604-928-7356