For immediate release
October 21, 2010
Strike hits ninth Westmont-operated hotel property in Toronto.
TORONTO–Workers at the Radisson Suite Hotel Toronto Airport struck a picket line at dawn this morning. The 52 workers have become the ninth group employed at hotels owned or operated by Westmont affiliates to take strike action.
Teresa Torres, a member of the union’s bargaining committee, explained, “we are reaching a boiling point inside the hotel. Workers in this hotel have been asked to do more and more work when I know that business is up, and Westmont could afford to start staffing the hotel properly again. We are tired of working so hard for so little. After all these years, we still make lower wages than other airport hotel workers for doing just as much work.” Torres has worked as a houseperson in the hotel’s housekeeping department for 18 years.
The strike follows on the heels of nine one-day strike actions taken by Westmont workers at hotels throughout the GTA during the Toronto International Film Festival. The strikes attracted broad public support, particularly from the film industry, as workers urged large hotel companies like Westmont to share the economic recovery with immigrant families.
Besides earning less wages for the same work as other hotels in the area, close to $1.00 less than at the nearby Hilton Toronto Airport, Radisson Airport housekeepers have a significant heavier workload than other hotels. They are expected to clean the equivalent of 28 hotels rooms a day, compared to 16 rooms in other union hotels in the GTA.
The Radisson is managed by Westmont Group, one of the world’s largest private hotel companies. The hotel is owned by InnVest REIT, one of Canada’s last remaining hotel real estate investment trusts, founded Westmont and partners but today traded on the public markets.
Eleven hotels owned by InnVest REIT and operated by Westmont are bargaining with UNITE HERE affiliates this year, representing approximately 11% of the portfolio by rooms. Two of these hotels struck in September: The Holiday Inn Midtown (on Bloor St.) and the Holiday Inn Express Lombard. Two other InnVest-owned hotels in the GTA are rapidly approaching strike/lockout deadlines, the Holiday Inn Airport East and the Comfort Inn Brampton.
Local 75 represents over 7,000 hotel, hospitality and gaming workers in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, please visit www.uniteherelocal75.org.