Hyatt Regency Toronto workers called a boycott of their employer on November 4. The boycott is a response to the growing frustration workers have with Hyatt as a result of its unwillingness to bargain a fair collective agreement, and more recently, its decision to suspend the grievance procedure for employees.
UNITE HERE Local 75 members at the Hyatt Regency have been without a collective agreement since January 31, 2010. This boycott follows a series of labour disputes and two one-day strikes during the Toronto International Film Festival. There are sixteen other active Hyatt boycotts across Canada and the US.
"We felt all of our workshop presenters would refuse to attend a conference at a hotel which is undergoing a labour dispute with its employees," said Barry Diacon, President of COUSA. "We have cancelled our conference on October 29 and 30. The Hyatt Regency is in danger of acquiring a dark stigma that will endure long past this round of bargaining with its workers." The Confederation of Ontario University Staff Associations & Unions is an umbrella group of unionized and non-unionized staff organizations at Ontario universities.
"The Hyatt Regency should be bargaining with its workers, not trying to take away their rights and destroy their union," said Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, who speaks for one million Ontario workers. "We are standing with the members of Local 75 and urging the hotel to get back to the table; we are requesting customers not to meet, eat or sleep at this hotel until it has done right by the very workers who have been responsible for its prosperity."
"The Hyatt refuses to bargain with us. It refuses to treat us with respect. Now, they are blatantly taking away our rights by stripping us of a fair grievance procedure. And so, we ask you to take away your business from this hotel and refuse to give them your money," said John Sultana, a banquet server at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. "The grievance procedure gives us an orderly way to resolve disagreements with management. It will be much harder to resolve issues without confrontation and disruption now."