Striking for Good Jobs in Toronto’s Jane & Finch Community
October 5, 2015
Holiday Inn Express North York hotel workers go on strike to stand up for good jobs in their community
Toronto, October 5 – Hotel workers at the Holiday Inn Express North York, located in Toronto’s north-west end, went on strike today as they continue to stand up for good jobs in the Jane & Finch community. While employers at dozens of other GTA-area hotels have settled fair contacts with their workers, the owner/operator of the Holiday Inn Express North York, the Vrancor Group, has failed to agree to the union’s proposals.
“We’re going out on strike to protect good jobs in our community,” says Veronica Cousins, a Room Attendant at the hotel. “The Jane & Finch community needs good jobs with decent pay and benefits – we deserve our fair share and we won’t let our employer sell this community short.”
Over 30 hotels across the GTA – big and small, multinationals or locally-owned – have all signed new collective agreements on a similar city-wide standard. The members of UNITE HERE Local 75 are leading the way to create good jobs with real benefits in the hospitality sector. The union hotel standard includes a fair wage, health benefits, pensions, and workload protections. This standard is especially important in a community like Jane and Finch where few jobs provide such benefits.
“Hospitality workers are primarily immigrants, women, and people of colour, a cross-section of people who already suffer more than average from poverty, instability and precarious employment,” explained Lis Pimentel, President of UNITE HERE Local 75. “When employers like the Vrancor Group engage in the race to the bottom, it’s not just their workers who suffer – their families and their communities suffer too.”
Supported by Local 75 members from hotels across the city as well as labour and community allies, the workers at the Holiday Inn Express North York say they’re prepared to stay out on strike as long as it takes to win a fair contract. “We’re not asking for anything more than what dozens of other hotel employers have already agreed to,” says Cousins. “Vrancor is trying to strip away our standard and we’ve rejected their final offer by a 96% margin – we’re united and we’re not going to stop until we deliver good jobs for Jane & Finch.”