For Immediate Release:
Vancouver, Canada — Workers on strike at Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport have written an open letter to cruise ship operator Carnival Corporation and its subsidiary, Cunard. They are urging Carnival and Cunard to stop using their hotel as an embarkment point for Queen Elizabeth passengers for the duration of the strike.
Cunard, a luxury cruise line owned by Carnival Corporation, operates the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner with voyages to Alaska. This summer, Cunard has placed guests at the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport hotel, a 30-minute drive from Vancouver’s cruise terminals. Customers should be informed about the limited staffing due to mass terminations and the ongoing labour dispute. Due to the lack of breakfast options at Radisson Blu, Cunard recently bussed guests from the hotel to a second hotel, Hilton Vancouver Airport, where they crossed a separate picket line.
The 388-room hotel is operating with a skeleton crew due to pandemic terminations of 70% of the unionized staff. Remaining workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, have been on strike for two years. The BC Labour Relations Board has declared through a consent order that Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport violated the labour code by illegally using impermissible replacement workers. The hotel is currently subject to a boycott.
The letter’s full text is included below:
August 15, 2023
Josh Weinstein, President & CEO, Carnival Corporation
Paul Ludlow, President, Carnival UK
Katie McAlister, President, Cunard
Re: Cunard, a Carnival Cruise subsidiary, crossing the picket line
Dear Mr. Weinstein, Mr. Ludlow, Ms. McAlister:
This summer, Cunard Line is using the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport Hotel for Queen Elizabeth passengers embarking on Alaskan cruises from Vancouver. You may not be aware that 70% of the hotel’s workers were terminated during the pandemic and the remaining Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport workers have been on strike for two years.
We are urging Cunard to stop using the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport for the duration of the 2023 summer season and through 2024, or until the strike has ended.
We took great pride in providing top-notch service to our international guests. We invested decades of service to the hotel, but our employer seemingly took advantage of the pandemic to get rid of 143 of our co-workers, mostly women, instead of recalling them to their jobs as tourism rebounded.
The hotel is currently operating with a skeleton crew; about 90% of the hotel’s housekeeping staff was terminated, as was most of the food and beverage staff. The hotel is not currently offering dining services. The closest restaurant options are 20 minutes away from the property by foot. To serve them breakfast, Cunard recently bussed guests from Radisson Blu to a second hotel, Hilton Vancouver Airport, where hotel workers are picketing in a separate labour dispute.
Why isn’t Cunard putting Queen Elizabeth guests into a fully staffed hotel that treats workers with appropriate decency?
The British Columbia Labour Relations Board recently declared through a consent order that Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport violated the labour code by illegally using replacement workers. We believe that this behaviour contradicts Cunard’s business partner code of conduct and ethics, which sets out an expectation for all business partners “to conduct their activities in a manner that adheres to applicable employment laws and respects human rights.”
The Canadian Labour Congress and the BC Federation of Labour have issued a customer boycott of the hotel, and the local City Council in which the hotel presides passed a resolution to not hold events or any business at the hotel until the employer reaches an agreement with us.
We call upon Cunard to honour their commitment to their guests by providing the full luxury experience they paid for by moving them from the Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport Hotel to a hotel that isn’t on strike or under a boycott.
Striking Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport Workers
Members of UNITE HERE Local 40
To download a copy of the open letter, click here.
Media Contacts: Sharan Pawa, email@example.com, (604) 710-1693; or Michelle Travis, firstname.lastname@example.org, (778) 960-9785.
For more information, go to BoycottRadissonBluVancouverAirport.org.
UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing hospitality workers across British Columbia. We are affiliated with UNITE HERE International, which represents 300,000 working people across Canada and the United States.