Press Release – Three Years on Strike: Hotel Workers Rally to Mark Anniversary of Fight to Change Hotel Industry

Radisson Blu YVR Workers say “No More” to disrespectful treatment and precarious hotel jobs


Richmond, BC – TODAY striking workers at Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport & The Deck, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, held a mass demonstration to commemorate three years of being on strike. Labour and community allies from across Metro Vancouver joined the rallying workers in solidarity, including Sussanne Skidmore, President of the BC Federation of Labour; Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President; Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre; Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough; and Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington.

Strikers are fighting for recall of unjustly terminated staff, job security, and family-supporting wages and benefits. Although negotiations between the Union and the management have resumed, no new dates are scheduled.

During the pandemic, the hotel (formerly named Pacific Gateway) received millions of dollars from the federal government for the property to be used as a federal quarantine site for travellers. The employer terminated over 70% of staff – mostly women and people of colour with decades on the job – instead of agreeing to recall workers as business returned.  In response, remaining workers went on strike on May 3, 2021. A terminated room attendant filed a human rights complaint against the hotel on behalf of 89 women for wrongful firings on the basis of sex and racial discrimination.

“I’m angry that management terminated 143 of my co-workers, some with over 40 years on the job. We are a family here and since we walked out on strike, we still feel devalued for what we contribute to our hotel. What we are fighting for is not only for ourselves, but for all workers in the hospitality industry; if our hotel gets away with treating us this way, other employers will do the same,” said Dulce Pereyras-Verma, a striking Guest Services Agent. “BC’s tourism industry is important, and we are the ones who make it run. We are fighting for a contract with secure jobs and for real change in how workers like us – mostly women – are treated, so our profession is respected.”

Last year, the employer admitted to over a dozen violations of labour law during the protracted labour dispute when using impermissible replacement workers to perform tasks at the hotel. The Union recently filed more charges against the company at the BC Labour Relations Board.

“They threw our experienced staff away like garbage,” said Pardeep Thandi, a striking Room Attendant. “I worked at the hotel for 27 years, and I’ve now had to find a new job to support my daughters in university. Together with my co-workers we will keep fighting for our rights – these are our jobs, and we will not give up.”

The BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress have issued a boycott of the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and the Deck. The City of Richmond has resolved not to support events or promote business with the hotel until a resolution is reached with the workers.

Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport and The Deck are majority owned by Sukhminder Rai and operated by his hotel arm PHI Hotel Group. The company is currently being sued over allegations of civil fraud and civil misappropriation of almost $16 million in funds related to its management of Westin Calgary Airport Hotel when that hotel was also used as a federal quarantine site.

Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693,