TORONTO, July 26, 2013 /CNW/ - A Toronto hotel has branded its employees
- a group of predominantly visible minority women - as "animals" for
fighting to protect their modest pay and benefits.
About 40 workers at the Toronto Plaza Hotel have been on strike for
eight weeks to resist the hotel's demands to slash wages by up to 28
per cent and to eliminate all benefits.
The hotel's manager has referred to his employees as "animals" in a
message to a provincial government mediator who has been appointed to
try to resolve the labour dispute.
"I refuse to be bullied by these animals," hotel manager Rehan Chaudary
states in an email message advising the mediator that he would not
negotiate with the workers.
Chaudary's demeaning remarks were accompanied by a long list of
concessionary demands including not only wage and benefits cuts, but
also eliminating workers' rights such as union representation in
"This deplorable behaviour reflects the complete lack of respect the
Toronto Plaza Hotel has for its hard-working employees, some of whom
have worked at this hotel for over 20 years," says United Steelworkers
(USW) representative Mohamed Baksh.
In 2011, the workers agreed to major concessions to help the hotel's new
owners, including sacrificing many of their benefits, noted Baksh,
whose union represents the striking workers.
The workers also report that the hotel, at 1677 Wilson Avenue, has
deteriorated significantly since it was purchased by the current owner
Almost half of the hotel now serves as lodging to persons on public
assistance. In March of this year, a person was found dead in one of
the rooms, approximately two weeks after the time of death. On May 27
of this year, a fire broke out at the hotel after a bed bug
extermination machine caught fire.
Several online hotel reviews, including from TripAdvisor, have cited
very poor conditions at the hotel.
The Toronto Plaza Hotel is owned by Virk Hospitality Corp. The hotel is
part of a chain of businesses controlled by Rehan Chaudary's father,
Akhtar Chaudary. Included among the businesses are Virk Holdings Inc.,
which operates Chaudary Poultry in Wainfleet, Ont., and supplies eggs
to Burnbrae Farms.
The USW is planning a major campaign to alert the public of the hotel's
practices and its refusal to treat its employees with fairness and
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Mohamed Baksh, United Steelworkers (USW), 416-574-8718, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, email@example.com
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org