Hotel workers demonstrate strong support for union at Novotel Mississauga

    Workers call on MPP to witness mounting employer attacks

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 7 /CNW/ - This week, workers at the Accor-owned
Hotel Novotel Mississauga took the first step towards forming a union at their
workplace. Before filing for an election, however, a committee of workers
actively organizing the union met with MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth), to
hear testimonies of an aggressive anti-union campaign by their employer.
    The union submitted membership cards signed by a strong majority of
workers at the Novotel Mississauga to the Ontario Labour Relations Board on
Monday. The workers are seeking to join UNITE HERE Local 75, which represents
thousands of hospitality workers in the region.
    "I congratulate you all on your perseverance and your courage," Tabuns
told the assembled workers. "What you are doing has a broader significance;
when workers manage to win a better standard of living, our entire community
    "If this were happening in 1994," Tabuns said, "you would now have a
union. In Ontario, we had a law for decades - under Liberal, Conservative and
NDP governments - that held you could form a union in your workplace when over
55% of your co-workers signed membership cards." In 1995, the Harris
government eliminated this law.
    Workers at the Novotel Mississauga have instead had to contend with
mounting opposition to the union from their employer. The hotel is owned by
the French-based Accor Group, one of the world's largest hotel companies.
    Rekha Sharma, a room service worker at the Novotel, spoke at a rally at
the hotel in late March, attended by 300 hospitality workers, members of UNITE
HERE Local 75 from across the GTA. About a week later, she was sent home, and
has not been scheduled for any shifts since then. Shortly thereafter, two of
her colleagues accompanied a delegation of community members to speak with the
hotel's General Manage about Ms. Sharma's effective firing. They, too, were
    "This weekend, the General Manager held a mandatory meeting for everyone.
He told us that there would never be a union here. He said, look at what
happened to GM and Chrysler," said Mahin Taheri, who works as a Room Attendant
at the hotel. "We came to Canada to gain a better standard of living," said
Ms. Taheri, "But we also expect to be able to be able to speak freely and
openly, and to be treated with respect"
    UNITE HERE Local 75 has filed several charges against the Novotel
Mississauga and Accor for violations of labour law.
    "Now more than ever, workers need unions to be able to protect our jobs,
our standard of living," said Teferi Zemene, a volunteer organizer with UNITE
HERE Local 75, who works at the Fairmont Royal York. "We're going to stand by
the workers at the Novotel Mississauga and make sure they enjoy the same
freedoms and standards that so many of us do."

    UNITE HERE Local 75 represents thousands of hotel and hospitality workers
across the GTA. UNITE HERE's diverse membership includes many recent
immigrants and a high proportion of women, working in hotels, restaurants,
racetracks and casinos, laundry and food service companies, airport
concessions and apparel, textile and general manufacturing and distribution

For further information:

For further information: JJ Fueser, (416) 893-8570

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