For immediate release
October 25, 2005
Toronto – Workers at the Fairmont Royal York voted to reject a proposal to settle their contract negotiations. Workers voted it down by 63% in a vote held earlier today.
“The possibility of a full-scale labour dispute has increased dramatically” said Paul Clifford, President of UNITE HERE Local 75, which represents over 800 room attendants, cooks, servers, and other front line workers at the prestigious hotel. The hotel has been in a precarious strike / lock-out position for almost a month.
“We’ve made considerable progress since our members authorized strike action on September 27, but clearly this latest company proposal still falls short in a few key areas.”
The Union’s negotiating committee recommended rejection because the Company’s proposal would lead to cuts in family health care, contained no increase in retirement benefits, and did not adequately protect the health and safety of housekeeping staff who are experiencing increased injury and pain on the job. “The bed wars of the luxury hotel chains, like Fairmont, are taking a toll on the bodies of our members. Room attendants are the causalities as the global hotel chains fight over which can provide their hotel guests with the biggest mattresses, the thickest duvets and the most amenities”, continued Clifford.
The Union says that the few remaining unresolved issues are primarily monetary. Fairmont Royal York workers expect to share in the growing prosperity of the chain. Recent news accounts have noted the expansion of the chain into Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, backed by financing from the sixth wealthiest man in the world.
“Honestly, we just can’t understand why Fairmont is so cheap”, said Jorge Junio, a dishwasher in the Stewarding Department and a member of the Union’s Negotiating Committee.