For immediate release
September 9, 2010
Royal York hotel workers vote to strike by midnight Thursday if no fair offer
TORONTO- Fairmont Royal York workers have voted to authorize strike action by midnight this Thursday if the hotel chain cannot come to the bargaining table with an offer that will ensure decent jobs and working conditions for the workers. Over 86% voted for strike authorization at the hotel, which is hosting guests of the Toronto International Film Festival this week.
"We are prepared to protest all day Friday if the glaring problems at work remain ignored. We worked hard during the G20 Summit and the busy summer tourist season. But it’s now time to put our needs first. We’ve worked off stage to keep the hotel running, unrecognized and unappreciated for too long. The hotels are profiting, but we are shut out of a better future for ourselves and our children," said Myleen Piansay, a Steward at the Fairmont Royal York.
The workers, who are primarily immigrants, women and people of colour, make the beds, mix drinks, serve banquets, wash dishes and provide virtually all the front-line service that hotel guests receive. Their contract expired on July 16th of this year.
"Cut-backs since the recession have led to greater workloads, higher injury rates, and shortened shifts. They can’t cut service any further," added Cicely Phillips, a Room Attendant at the Fairmont Royal York. "It is so disheartening. Over the years, we’ve made steady progress to reach a living wage in the hotel industry through collective bargaining. But now the hotel wants to turn the clock back. While the hotels continue to profit, our dreams of raising a family or retiring with security are fading away."
The workers are frustrated that Fairmont has not moved on several key issues for workers – including the treatment of injured workers and the reinstatement of hours and shifts – despite seeing increased business from major events, including the Toronto International Film Festival.
Local 75 represents over 7,000 hotel, hospitality and gaming workers in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, please visit www.uniteherelocal75.org.