British Columbia

Trump Tower construction crew 'stripper party' revealed in labour decision

A 16-man elevator construction crew working on Vancouver's Trump Tower held an afternoon on-site stripper party complete with beer and a makeshift stage and pole, according to a recent labour arbitration decision.

Advocates for women in construction say 2014 on-site party of 'definite concern' for profession

Donald Trump was in Vancouver in June of 2013 to announce construction of the 63-tower downtown Trump Tower where the construction crew's party happened.

A 16-man elevator construction crew working on Vancouver's Trump Tower held an on-site stripper party complete with beer and a makeshift stage and pole, according to a recent labour arbitration decision.

The otherwise innocuous ruling concerns fallout for the foreman who shut the October 2014 party down.

But it also details an incident advocates for women in the trades claim is out of step with the modern construction industry.

'He told the crew and the women to get out'

The party was supposed to be a potluck lunch at a shack located in the Trump Tower underground parkade.

The men booked off at noon, but according to the decision, foreman Guy Redmond didn't arrive until 1:45 p.m.

The construction site of the twisting Vancouver Trump Tower was the site of an impromptu construction crew 'stripper party' in October of 2014. (Holborn Group)

"When Redmond approached the lunch shack, there was fairly loud music coming from it. There was a stage set up with a pole on it. There were three women in the lunch shack," the decision says.

Another witness testified that the men were watching 'scantily clad' women dance.

There was also a case of beer and two open beers, which Redmond threw in the garbage: "He told the crew and the women to get out."

Redmond worked for Fujitec Elevators at the time. According to the decision, he refused to disclose the names of the men who organized the party, taking full responsibility for the incident as the foreman.

He told the hearing Fujitec told him he could take a voluntary layoff or be fired. He took the voluntary layoff.

'100 per cent not appropriate'

The 'stripper party' — which the decision says became notorious within the industry — arose in labour arbitration when another company, Kone Elevators, refused to hire Redmond, as required by collective agreement.

Arbitrator Robert Pekeles said the company asked, "in effect, why it should hire someone who in a safety incident would be quiet to save his co-workers?"

Redmond has an "exemplary employment record" after decades in the industry and has never before been subject to discipline.

Reached by telephone, he said the incident has been blown out of proportion. But still, he said, having alcohol on site is an unacceptable safety violation, as is having unauthorized visitors in any state of dress.

"It's 100 per cent not appropriate," he said. 

As foreman, Redmond said he took the fall for the incident, even though he was the one who shut it down. But he said the buck stopped with him; he wasn't about to give up fellow union members.

Pekeles wrote that Redmond apologized to the contractor, who told him he would like to have him back, as did a supervisor at Fujitec. 

The arbitrator said Kone should have ascertained all that before making a decision not to hire him.

"The employer had no hard facts about the incident," Pekeles wrote.

"Some inquiry into the actual facts was necessary. In these particular circumstances, I conclude that the employer's rejection of Redmond was arbitrary and unreasonable."

'Poor choices, no question'

Vancouver Regional Construction Association president Fiona Famulak said the incident is an anomaly because it runs contrary to the notion that the local construction industry is not female-friendly.

"Clearly, some individuals that day made some poor choices, no question," she said. "I think it's a highly unusual case that's not representative of the industry as a whole."

Famulak said between five to 10 per cent of the 215,000 people employed in the B.C. construction industry are women. She said the business is actively trying to encourage more female involvement.

The head of the Vancouver-based Canadian Construction Women said the incident was "of definite concern."

"This type of incident is not the norm for the Vancouver construction industry," said Lindsey Nelson.

"Vancouver has a high level of professionalism and construction industry standards, in which we are proud that this incident would be a fly in the ointment."


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