Unifor National President Jerry Dias was on hand to launch the first round of bargaining for Unifor’s new Local 7575, representing hotel workers in Toronto and Mississauga.
“As part of Unifor, you will have the full resources of the union behind you, and you will have me behind you,” Dias said as he met with members in the staff cafeteria of the Marriott Bloor Yorkville on Tuesday.
“Negotiating collective agreements is the most important work a union does, and I’m glad that after all you have been through, we are at this stage.”
The next day, Dias met with workers from the Fairmont Royal York who are considering joining Unifor. He reported back to them on a meeting he’d just had with management at Fairmont, telling the company not to interfere with the workers’ right to choose their own union.
“When the company tells you to join one Union, join the other one,” Dias said.
Since January, more than 900 former UNITE HERE members voted to join Unifor, which represents 19,000 hospitality and gaming workers across Canada. Dias met with members and the bargaining team for Local 7575 on March 20 to discuss bargaining priorities. Similar meetings are being held at the other hotels represented by Local 7575 throughout March.
Earlier this year, workers at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville hotel voted to join Unifor, leaving behind their previous American union that had placed their local in trusteeship. Workers at the Hyatt Regency, Courtyard Marriott downtown, Westin Prince in Toronto and Delta airport in Mississauga also voted to become Unifor members.
UNITE HERE placed its Toronto local into trusteeship in January in a dispute over the right of the local to set its own course, including determining the bargaining strategy. It also removed elected officers and seized the local's assets, leading to the effort to join Unifor.
Dias told the new members that they are now in a strong union that will work hard to get them a good contract. As Canada’s largest union in the private sector, the union has continually shown to have the experience and influence to support hotel workers in the push for fairness and better conditions.