For immediate release
October 4, 2005
Company Attacks Room Attendants Who Take Legal Breaks
Toronto – As a result of escalating workload and duties, room attendants at the Royal York Hotel have reported being unable to take their breaks. Hotel companies across North America have been increasing the luxury standards in hotel rooms with bigger mattresses, heavy duvets, more pillows and more amenities in hotel rooms.
On Thursday September 22, room attendants took breaks at the same time to ensure that every room attendant is able to work safely and prevent injury through rest and recovery. On Monday October 3rd, the Royal York Hotel charged the Royal York room attendants and their union, UNITE HERE Local 75, with engaging in an illegal strike.
“We are appalled that the Royal York Hotel would attack the rights of room attendants to take needed breaks. Room attendants have a very physical job with lifting, straining and bending. This aggressive, needless step by the Royal York shows how difficult it is for workers to protect themselves and their fundamental rights working for large hotel companies” said Paul Clifford, President, Local 75.
“I took my breaks on September 22nd. I am so tired and in pain after a day’s work. I am very shocked that the Royal York would say we can’t take our breaks. We are angry that there is so much pressure at work and we will continue to stand up for our rights no matter what the company says” said Cicely Phillips, a Royal York room attendant with 13 years seniority.
Workers at the Fairmont Royal York are in a legal strike / lockout position. Negotiations are underway and the Union remains committed to bargain so long as there is sufficient progress in negotiations. On January 31, 2006, 4000 workers at 23 Toronto hotels will also be in contract negotiations with major hotel companies.