TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2018 /CNW/ - Across Toronto and Mississauga, hundreds of hotel workers are seeking to leave their American-based union that recently seized control of local offices and removed elected officers.
"It is clear that the kind of movement we have been building among hospitality workers no longer has a home within UNITE HERE," said Lis Pimentel, who resigned as president of Local 75 on Tuesday and signed a Unifor membership card on Wednesday.
The American parent union of Local 75 placed the local into trusteeship earlier this month in a dispute over the right of the local to set its own course, including in bargaining. It also removed elected officers and seized the local's assets. Pimentel said the hostile takeover is a clear sign of how little UNITE HERE respects the democratic voices of its Canadian members and she turned to Unifor who has been vocal about U.S.-based unions trampling on the rights of workers.
Workers at hotels in downtown Toronto, represented by and near the airport have also signed Unifor cards, signifying their desire to leave UNITE HERE and join Unifor before their next round of bargaining, which is about to begin. The current contracts for the more than 4,600 Local 75 members in Toronto and Mississauga expire on January 31.
"We could not allow our members to enter into bargaining under control of the American union. Canadian workers need people at the table who appreciate and understand their concerns," Pimentel said.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias expressed that he was sick and tired of the heavy handed arm of American unions trampling on the rights of Canadian workers' rights and that the members of Local 75 will find a welcome home with Unifor. "Local 75 has a well-earned reputation for fighting for the rights of its members and improving the lives of workers across the hospitality industry," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "It is humbling to Unifor that such a progressive and grass-roots run local would come to us."
Unifor represents more than 19,000 hospitality and gaming sector workers across Canada, and has won gains for workers at many of the same hotel chains where Local 75 represents workers.
SOURCE Canadian hotel workers
For further information: please contact Thorben Wieditz, former researcher with Local 75, at [email protected], or cell 647-409-8997.