Letter to Premier Clark regarding the Rocky Mountaineer lock out

August 10, 2011

The Honourable Premier Christy Clark
West Annex
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

4 August 2011

Dear Premier Clark,

I am writing to you regarding the very difficult situation faced by workers at Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours, including a number of my constituents.

As you are aware, 108 Rocky Mountaineer employees have been locked out by their employer. More concerning, the employer has chosen to use replacement workers during this dispute, a practice that would be illegal if the company were under provincial, rather than federal, jurisdiction and subject to the B.C. Labour Code.

As I expect that you respect B.C. legislation banning replacement workers, I anticipate that you share my concerns about the employer’s conduct, particularly as this company’s leadership includes both long-time BC Liberal supporter, Mr. Peter Armstrong, and former Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games, Mr. John Furlong. If my assessment of your view regarding B.C. legislation and this company’s conduct is incorrect, I would appreciate your clarification.

The conduct of Rocky Mountaineer is also very concerning from a tourism perspective. In a letter to Mr. Armstrong, 9 members of Vancouver’s City Council stated, “These long service employees many of whom have been with Rocky Mountaineer since the firms early days are exactly the kind of skilled, committed, frontline employees that help ensure your guests are back again and again. They are not just your on-board representatives, they are also our city’s representatives... Nonetheless your firm has not only locked out these loyal employees but immediately replaced them with strike-breakers, an act that would be illegal under provincial law. We do not believe we can build the tourism industry with a strategy that treats customer services reps as little more than disposable people, to be used and discarded.” I fully concur with this view, and I hope you would share it.

While this is technically a federal matter, it is also an issue of fairness for these workers and their families, the labour relations process, and the reputation of our tourism sector. I respectfully request that you urge Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Furlong, and others involved in Rocky Mountaineer’s management, to end this lockout, put these dedicated employees back to work, and negotiate a fair collective agreement.

I look forward to a prompt response from your office on this matter.


Shane Simpson, MLA

CC: Peter Armstrong, Executive Chairman & Founder, Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours

John Furlong, Board of Directors, Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours

Rick Antonson, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver

Stan Hennessy, President, Teamsters Union Local 31

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Letter to Premier Clark Rocky Mountaineer Lock Out Aug 4 2011.PDF 200.28 KB
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