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Union, Richmond city council disagree over hotel boycott

The official minutes say the city supports a boycott only at the Sheraton hotel.
Unionized Sheraton workers have been striking for seven months.

There seems to be some confusion - and disagreement - over a Richmond city council vote to impose a boycott in support of striking workers.

The union representing striking workers at the Sheraton Airport hotel, Unite Here Local 40, was at city council on Monday asking councillors to impose a boycott in solidarity with the strikers who have been behind picket lines for seven months.

The BC Labour Board has ruled the unionized strikers are allowed to picket two adjacent hotels, the Marriott and the Hilton, as they are under the same ownership.

After the union's plea at the city council meeting, Coun. Bill McNulty moved a motion to support the striking workers by not doing business at "those hotels."

While it was McNulty who moved the motion, Mayor Malcolm Brodie interjected his wording as well.

The final wording of the motion wasn't repeated back at the meeting, rather Brodie called for a vote almost immediately after it was moved - after a few brief remarks from Coun. Carol Day.

On Wednesday, the union released a statement saying city council supported a boycott of the three hotels, the Sheraton, the Marriott and the Hilton.

After publishing its story about the boycott of the three hotels, the Richmond News was contacted by the city saying the boycott only applies to the Sheraton.

The union, however, told the News they understood, after legal consultation, it applied to the three hotels as McNulty had said "those hotels."

The official motion that is in the now-published minutes reads: "That City of Richmond provide support to the Sheraton Airport Hotel workers by not doing any business with the Sheraton Airport Hotel."

McNulty told the News on Friday the intention was to boycott the "Sheraton brand."

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