Unifor continues its raiding against our union in Toronto. On February 28, 2019 Unifor’s National Office submitted an application to raid our membership at Marriott’s St. Regis Toronto. This is merely the latest development in Unifor’s 14-month raiding effort.
Despite the millions of dollars Unifor has spent, that effort has failed. UNITE HERE Local 75 members have successfully fought off Unifor’s campaign to undermine our local, sending a decisive message at 45 hotels by choosing to remain with our union. Instead of allowing us to focus fully on winning industry-leading contracts and empowering workers across our sector, Unifor continues in their attempt to divide our union. Despite Unifor’s efforts, our negotiating committees continue to secure historic contracts, raising the bar for hospitality workers across the GTA with unprecedented wage increases, health benefits, and protections.
Hotel workers have spoken and Unifor Canada must seriously consider the implications of wasting more workers’ dues to wage this attack on our union. As GM threatens thousands of jobs in Oshawa and Ontario’s provincial government attacks workers’ rights, our labour movement is at a critical juncture. Unions everywhere must work together to fight corporate greed and austerity measures, not waste resources attacking other unions. We stand in solidarity with the rank and file members of Unifor mobilizing against General Motors’ corporate greed in Oshawa. Unifor’s leadership must prioritize these workers instead of sending Unifor staff to raid our union.
UNITE HERE Local 75 members have won significant improvements in the last year as part of the strongest hotel workers union in North America. Last year alone UNITE HERE took on Marriott, the largest hotel company in the world, and won historic contracts through strikes at 23 hotels. We believe that our labour movement is strongest when unions stand united in building the power of working people. We insist that Unifor end the raids and recommit to our shared struggle. It’s time for all unions to work together as we build a better future for workers in the Toronto region and beyond.
Increases Include Dental And Prescription Drug Coverage for Part-time Dependents
This month the joint union-management Board of Trustees of the UNITE HERE Health and Welfare Plan secured significant increases to health coverage for all members. These gains include an increase in dependent life insurance coverage to $5,000 for spouses and $2,500 per child for all members as well as dental and prescription drug benefits for the dependents of part-time workers.
“We are very proud of the gains we’ve won for part-time staff,” said Ian Robb, a Union Trustee of the joint union-management Board of Trustees of the UNITE HERE Local 75 Health and Welfare Plan. “These additions are a victory for workers and allow us to extend the comprehensive benefits coverage Local 75 has for full-time workers to part-time workers and their families.”
“These new protections will allow me to better support my family,” said Karen Salontoy who works at the Adelaide Hotel. “I can rest easy knowing that we won’t ever need to choose between handling a medical emergency and other living expenses. I am proud of my union for securing a win that ensures my children are able to access coverage for prescription drugs and dental care.”
Existing benefits for UNITE HERE Local 75 members include 100% dental coverage and 95% coverage of prescription drugs up to $5,000 annually for part-time staff. These added benefits provide peace of mind for members and their families.
The benefit improvements are a victory for UNITE HERE Local 75 members and come at a time when the union is fighting to set a new standard for workers in the hospitality sector. This new standard, recently won by workers at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Holiday Inn Downtown, includes significant wage increases, increased contributions to workers’ pension and health and welfare funds, and reduced workload.
“As life in Ontario gets more expensive, Local 75 is breaking barriers by fighting for a new standard across the sector,” said Kattia Delgado, who works as a Room Attendant at the Fairmont Royal York. “For the union to bring the same kinds of protections to part-time workers and their families sends a clear message that in our struggle for better working conditions no one gets left behind.”
UNITE HERE Local 75 represents nearly 8,000 hospitality workers across the GTA. UNITE HERE’s diverse membership includes many recent immigrants and people of colour as well as a high proportion of women in the sector.
For further information:
Shelli Sareen, (647) 990-2863
TORONTO, Aug. 13, 2018 — UNITE HERE Local 75, the largest representative of hotel workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), recently obtained party status before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in relation to an application by Great Eagle Hotels (Canada) Ltd to redevelop the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. Great Eagles’ redevelopment proposal is currently under appeal before Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
The Chelsea Hotel is the largest hotel in Canada offering 1590 rooms for visitors to Toronto. In 2015, an application was filed by Great Eagle Hotels (Canada) Ltd. to change the zoning of the Chelsea Hotel site to permit a mixed-use redevelopment consisting primarily of residential condominium units. In May 2018, Great Eagle reached a settlement with the City of Toronto. As part of this settlement, the redevelopment will be required to include a new hotel containing a minimum of only 400 hotel rooms. This would represent a loss of nearly 1200 hotel rooms in the heart of Toronto’s downtown.
An LPAT hearing on the merits of the proposed redevelopment is scheduled to commence on October 1, 2018. UNITE HERE Local 75 intends to challenge the settlement reached between Great Eagle and the City of Toronto.
“UNITE HERE has been engaged in this process since the outset. We obtained party status in order to share the economic and planning evidence we have relevant to the proposed redevelopment with the Tribunal, which we will present in October,” said Nuredin Bulle, UNITE HERE Local 75. “Our research verifies that the potential loss of nearly 1200 rooms in the downtown core will have a detrimental impact on Toronto’s ability to host visitors, particularly in the highly competitive and economically lucrative meeting and convention industry.”
UNITE HERE Local 75 engaged urbanMetrics Inc, a firm with expertise in market research and land economics, to conduct an independent analysis of the travel and accommodation industry within the city, including travel industry market trends, economic impact of visitor-related spending, hotel market data, and hotel-related employment in the region. The analysis clearly indicates that hotels are essential in supporting Toronto as a major travel destination and that convention and business visitors are important contributors to the local economy. Specifically, the urbanMetrics study has found that:
- Overnight visitors spend significantly more than same day visitors. In 2016, overnight visitors to the area spent more than $6.4 billion, or 80 per cent, of the $8.0 billion in total visitor spending, almost $1.4 billion of which was spent on accommodation.
- In 2016, 1 in 5 overnight visitors to the region were convention and business visitors and more than 1.4 million convention and business overnight visitors spent over 3.7 million nights in a hotel located in the region.
- Convention and business visitors spend 1.5 times the average spending per visitor than any other type of visitor. In 2016, convention and business visitors spent $1.92 billion in the region, with 89 per cent of this spending coming from overnight visitors.
- In 2016, total visitor spending in the region stimulated ±$6.1 billion in total economic output, supported more than ±77,880 full-time years of employment, generated total labour income of ±$3.7 billion annually, and generated total government revenues of an estimated ±$2.4 billion in total taxes.
“The urbanMetrics’ analysis should serve as a wake-up call for city officials and everyone involved in Toronto’s tourism and hospitality sector, particularly if Toronto is to stay competitive with other major cities in Canada and across North America,” added Bulle. “UNITE HERE is optimistic the LPAT will review our evidence and recognize that the dangerous trend of hotel conversions in downtown cores cannot continue. The Chelsea Hotel is an immediate opportunity for decision-makers to demonstrate their commitment to sustaining Toronto as a premiere tourist and convention destination.”
About UNITE HERE
UNITE HERE is the strongest hotel union in North America with more than 270,000 members, the vast majority of whom are hospitality workers. UNITE HERE Local 75 represents nearly 8,000 hospitality workers at 43 hotels in the GTA, including workers at the Chelsea Hotel.
Toronto, Ontario, June 15, 2018 – Members of UNITE HERE Local 75 ratified a new collective agreement with the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Friday that represents the strongest agreement in Toronto’s hospitality sector. The four-year contract makes Fairmont Royal York workers the highest paid hotel workers in the GTA by far and includes a 14.5% wage increase and a retroactive bonus, more than triples pension contributions, significantly reduces housekeepers’ workloads, and substantiality increases retirement and other paid benefits for all workers.
“With the 3% retro we won, I’ll be taking home a bonus of more than $1,000 right away. This agreement is going to be huge for my family,” said Kattia Delgado, a room attendant and member of the UNITE HERE Local 75 Negotiating Committee at the Fairmont Royal York.
“This agreement is the result of months of hard work and thousands of conversations about the future we want for ourselves and our families. With the support of our sisters and brothers across the labour movement, we pushed hard for what we deserve, and hotel management heard us loud and clear. We are stronger than ever and it has paid off for us today,” said Arley Da Silva, a banquet server and member of the UNITE HERE Local 75 Negotiating Committee at the Fairmont Royal York. Over 1,000 Canadian labour leaders and members of the Canadian Labour Congress participated in a rally in support of the workers.
The new four-year contract includes, among other improvements:
- 3% retroactive bonus from July 17, 2017 through April 29, 2018.
- 14.5% wage increase over the four-year agreement
- More than tripled pension contributions, with an increase of 54 cents per hour
- Maintained and increased excellent health benefits
- Reduced housekeeper room assignments to 14 rooms per day, the best standard in Canada
“After months of bargaining, we have reached a deal that significantly increases our pay, improves our benefits and pensions, and addresses workload issues. UNITE HERE’s extensive experience in the hospitality sector was key in us settling a contract that is the best hotel workers contract in the city, and one of the best in the country,” said Gary Ing, a 30-year bartender and member of the UNITE HERE Local 75 Negotiating Committee at the Fairmont Royal York.
UNITE HERE is a labour union representing 270,000 hospitality workers across North America. An affiliate of the largest hotel workers union in the world, UNITE HERE Local 75 represents nearly 8,000 hospitality workers at 43 hotels in the Greater Toronto Area, including nearly 1,000 workers at the Fairmont Royal York.
Toronto, Ontario (April 12, 2018) – The Ontario Labour Relations Board counted the votes from a sealed ballot box at the Four Points by Sheraton today, revealing that hotel workers voted to remain with UNITE HERE Local 75, the largest representative of hotel workers in the GTA.
“UNITE HERE members have built Local 75 from the ground up and we are delighted that our sisters and brothers at the Four Points decided to stick together. We know that being part of the largest hotel workers union is why we have the strongest contracts. We have fought hard to earn the respect and benefits we deserve and we’re not willing to walk away from that,” said Vemelyn Feliciano, a room attendant at the Adelaide Hotel.
Earlier this year, Unifor attempted to raid half of the 48 hotels represented by UNITE HERE Local 75. Out of those 24 hotels, 18 chose to stay with UNITE HERE Local 75, and five voted to try Unifor. UNITE HERE Local 75 continues to represent the vast majority of hotel workers in the region.
“UNITE HERE Local 75 has emerged from the past few months stronger and more united than ever before. We also know we have the full support of the Canadian labour movement, demonstrated by the more than 1,000 labour leaders and members who attended a recent Unity Rally in support of our members at the Fairmont Royal York. We’re focused on upcoming bargaining and negotiating even stronger contracts for workers and our families,” said Rik Hockley, a banquet server at the Novotel Toronto Centre.
The ballot box had been sealed by the Ontario Labour Relations Board in response to workers who submitted requests to have their names removed from Unifor’s petitions.
“Unifor’s campaign to bully workers into signing with them was a gross attempt to seize power on the backs of working people. This sad episode is now behind us and we’re putting our focus where it belongs—standing together as one labour movement fighting for the best contracts for Toronto hotel workers,” said Kayann Drummond, a guest services agent at the Sheraton Centre.
UNITE HERE remains the strongest hotel union in North America, with the vast majority of its membership being hospitality workers. UNITE HERE Local 75 continues to represent nearly 8,000 hospitality workers, including workers at 43 hotels in the GTA.