Justice at the Beach

May 21, 2009 16:14 ET

Sun Life Meeting Target of Labour Protests

Questions Raised on Investment Policy

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor ONTARIO:IMMEDIATE RELEASE--(Marketwire - May 21, 2009) - Shareholders arriving at the annual meeting of Sun Life Financial in downtown Toronto were greeted by labour union activists calling attention to Sun Life's investment in a Hawaii hotel.

Sun Life holds a $38 million mortgage for the Pacific Beach Hotel in Honolulu. The hotel has been charged by the U.S. federal government with fifteen separate counts of violating federal labor law, including the mass termination of union activists. In response, national labor federations in both the U.S. and Japan have declared a boycott against the hotel. Partly as a result, the hotel's occupancy rate has been 15 points below the Honolulu average for much of the past year.

Workers at the Pacific Beach Hotel are represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Tom Dufresne, President of ILWU Canada, explained that "these workers have been struggling for seven years to get a fair contract. Their elected leaders were fired, and the place operates on a climate of fear. We're standing with those workers to make sure they have the right to live in dignity."

Wayne Samuelson, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, participated in today's protest. "Sun Life says it's proud of its record as a socially responsible investor. But ignoring this kind of anti-union thuggery is not good for the employees or for investors in Sun Life."

"This hotel is way below average occupancy in Honolulu," stated Karl Lindo, a representative of the ILWU in Hawaii. "We are working to get a fair deal for the hard-working employees of this hotel. But beyond that, we think it is in the interest of Sun Life shareholders to make sure the companies they invest in are ethical employers and do not behave in such a way that makes them the target of federal charges and international boycotts."

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IN: FINANCE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Karl Lindo, Justice At The Beach
    Primary Phone: 808-949-4161