Hotel Workers Vote to Stay With UNITE HERE Local 75; Take Unifor to Task for Bullying and Intimidation Tactics

With nearly 8,000 members, UNITE HERE Local 75 remains strongest, largest representative of hotel workers in the GTA

TORONTO, Feb. 07, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hotel workers at 17 hotels around the GTA have decided to remain with UNITE HERE Local 75 on the heels of raiding efforts by Unifor, including the Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites and the Hilton Toronto who both voted overwhelmingly in favour of UNITE HERE today. Hundreds of hotel workers have also filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to have their signatures revoked from Unifor petitions as a result of feeling bullied and misled in the raiding efforts. 

“Thousands of UNITE HERE members decided to stay with the strongest hotel union in the world because they know there is strength in numbers and that solidarity means greater bargaining power and better benefits. We fought to protect our hard-earned contracts in the face of bullying tactics on the part of Unifor,” said Vemelyn Feliciano, a room attendant and Shop Steward at the Adelaide Hotel.

Over the last three weeks, hotel workers around the GTA were pressured by Unifor to sign petitions to leave UNITE HERE Local 75 and join Unifor. Hotel workers are now raising concerns with the Ontario Labour Relations Board about Unifor’s tactics and bullying in the workplace. This has led to questions about the validity of Unifor’s petitions and the sealing of several ballot boxes by the Ontario Labour Relations Board following workplace votes.

Of the 48 hotel properties represented by UNITE HERE Local 75 in the GTA, Unifor attempted to raid 24 hotels. Out of those 24 hotels, 17 decided to stay with UNITE HERE Local 75, four chose Unifor, and three ballot boxes are yet to be counted pending the outcomes of hearings by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

“The height of hypocrisy is Unifor accusing UNITE HERE of ignoring democracy when their entire set of actions have been to mislead and deceive workers in a blatant power grab,” added Kayann Drummond, a guest services agent at the Sheraton Centre.

“I’ve been part of building Local 75 as the strongest hotel worker union in Toronto for the last 27 years. We chose to stay with UNITE HERE because that’s best for our families and our future. Unifor’s attempt to break us down and lower our working standards through intimidation and fear is beyond shameful. I am proud to stand up for my coworkers and our right to fair working conditions and pay,” said Medhin Ghebre, a room attendant at the Chelsea Hotel.

UNITE HERE remains the strongest hotel union in North America, with the vast majority of its membership being hospitality workers, including workers at nearly four dozen hotels in the GTA. By comparison, Unifor has less than 3% of its members working in the hospitality industry.

“I’m so proud that my coworkers and fellow UNITE HERE Local 75 members chose to stick together and defend our rights as a union. It shows the courage and strength of working people. We have sacrificed too much to allow our union to move backwards,” said Rik Hockley, a banquet server at the Novotel Toronto Centre.

UNITE HERE Local 75 continues to represent nearly 8,000 hospitality workers, including workers at 44 hotels in the GTA.


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