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The Lalji family, billionaire real-estate oligarchs, were 2023's recipient of the Women's Health Champion award from the BC Women's Health Foundation, which is awarded annually to an "individual, family or organization who is dedicated to advancing women's health." The Lalji family were recognized for their philanthropic contributions to the Urgent Care Centre at B.C. Women's Hospital.
Workers striking from the Lalji-owned Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, most of whom are women, shared a different perspective on the impact of the Lalji family on women's health. Asked about the award, UNITE HERE Local 40 organizer Gulzar Grewal said, "I feel like it's kind of shameful because the people here are women, immigrant women. They've been working 25 years, 30 years, and now they are sitting outside [on the picket line]."
Felisha Perry, a 26-year-old banquet server, said: "Being a young woman in my city, I don't know if they should have won that, to be honest, because they don't want to help their own employees, and they are one of the wealthiest families in Canada; top five. They have more than enough money to pay us!"
Workers at the Sheraton are fighting for a living wage ($25.68 per hour in Metro Vancouver, according to the Living Wage Campaign). Neither the Sheraton workers nor the workers at two adjacent Lalji-owned hotels, which are not unionized, make close to that amount.
While the women workers at their hotel sit out in the cold six months into a strike and struggle to provide for their families, the Laljis were feted for their tax-deductible donations at an elaborate gala and banquet sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and other real estate and health care monopolies.
Strike in a Vancouver Airport Hotel
- Union-busting Billionaire Lalji Family win “Women’s Health Champion” Award
- Billionaire Lalji family threatens workers only hoping to get a living wage
- Workers Face Off Against Billionaire Lalji Family