For immediate release
November 4, 2004
416-510-0887 x 238
Will Toronto Airport hotel workers share in post-SARS recovery?
Toronto, November 4. Two Toronto airport hotels have signed new contracts with UNITE HERE Local 75, but diverged in their approach to collective bargaining.
On November 3, 120 members of UNITE HERE Local 75 voted 98% to accept a new contract with the Delta Airport West, owned by Legacy REIT and managed by Delta. 115 members working at the Hilton Toronto Airport voted 97% to accept a new agreement and return to work, ending a two-week lockout. That’s where the similarity between the two sets of collective bargaining ends.
The two contracts, both of which expire in January 2006, show two very different responses to hotel workers in the post-SARS recovery.
The Delta Airport West concluded an agreement smoothly and without disruption to the hotel’s business, sharing its gains with its employees.
The Hilton Toronto Airport, owned by UK-based Hilton Group plc, locked its workers out before making a final offer at the bargaining table. During the lockout, a supervisor ran over a worker’s foot and another worker was thrown onto the hood of a speeding car that rushed the picket line. It was only after these events gained publicity that the hotel returned to the bargaining table. Even then, the Hilton punted one of the most controversial issues – its failure to pass a share of gratuities on to its banquet workers – to the next collective agreement.
Highlights of the settlement with the Delta Airport West include: Â· Above inflation, across-the-board wage increases (3% annually) Â· Wage adjustments (8.5% over 22 months) to the lowest-paid workers Â· Pension increases and a retirement allowance Â· Improvements in room service gratuities, tour baggage rate and banquet gratuities (a 72% share of the gratuities charged to the banquet customers) Â· A new article calling for the hotel to use services, products and materials produced or provided under fair labour conditions Â· Increase in break time and an allowance for the makeup of cots in housekeeping Â· Contribution to World Culture Fund of Toronto Hotel Workers
President Paul Clifford of UNITE HERE Local 75 credits Delta’s management for reaching a deal without the need for a labour dispute. “This deal owes a lot to the reasonable approach of the employer. We feel that the Delta deal proves that it is possible for collective bargaining to end in a win/win situation where the hotel continues to operate with experienced workers and no disruptions, while workers get better wages, benefits and working conditions.”
The two hotels now share expiry dates with twenty-five other major hotels in the GTA – January 31, 2006.