(Toronto) Hundreds of hotel and hospitality workers kicked off contract negotiations at a rally in front of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Thursday, June 22, followed by a march down Front Street to the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, where newly-unionized members are fighting for a first contract. The hotel workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 75, are busy preparing for their next round of contract negotiations, which will affect more than forty properties across the GTA.
The hotel workers were joined by fellow UNITE HERE union members from several other North American cities, who shared messages of solidarity and support as they enter into contract negotiations of their own. A decade ago, UNITE HERE launched Hotel Workers Rising, a continent-wide campaign to empower and improve the lives of hotel workers. Since then, tens of thousands of hotel workers have won improved wages and benefits, job security, and workload protections.
The march ended at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel in the Rogers Centre, where workers voted to join the union last year. Since then, they have been fighting for a first contract, refusing to settle for anything less than the same standard contract agreed to by dozens of other hotels across the city.