2019 was indeed a banner year for UNITE HERE Local 75. It was a flurry of activity and change, and we are happy to provide you this brief update on the year. We hope you are proud of the gains we have made – we could not have done it without the steadfast support of our 8000 members.
Click here to read to read the update to our members.
We look forward to an even better 2020! Together, we will continue to lead the way as the GTA’s largest hospitality union.
On March 29th hospitality workers with UNITE HERE Local 75 elected a new leadership. More than 1/3rd of our membership participated in the election, the highest voter turnout in our local’s history. Our new leadership was elected with a decisive 83% of the vote. The election marks our local’s transition out of trusteeship as we welcome a diverse new set of local leaders.
During the trusteeship, our membership successfully defeated Unifor Canada’s attempt to raid our local. In this period thousands of hospitality workers have sent a strong message to both the labour movement and employers as we continue to secure some of the strongest collective agreements our sector has seen in the last two decades.
“Our members have sent a clear message to employers across the GTA by securing such strong contracts,” said President Nuredin Bulle. “We’re looking forward to continuing this work and expanding our organizing efforts under new local leadership.”
“We are a local of immigrants, women and people of colour and I’m proud to be part of a team that truly reflects our membership,” said Secretary Treasurer Shelli Sareen.
UNITE HERE Local 75 is organizing an event to welcome the new leadership and celebrate the local’s victories in contract negotiations the evening of April 24th at the Sheraton Centre Toronto at 123 Queen Street West, Toronto ON.
UNITE HERE Local 75 represents nearly 8,000 hospitality workers across the GTA. We celebrate our diversity as a union of immigrants, people of colour and women in the sector, leading the struggle for social justice in our local labour movement.
Ellie Ade Kur
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.