UNITE HERE Announces Countdown to Novotel Boycott
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2012) - UNITE HERE has announced a countdown to a province-wide boycott of Novotel hotels in Ontario. Workers at three non-union Novotels in Ontario -- the Novotel Mississauga, Novotel North York and Novotel Ottawa -- have been organizing to join the union UNITE HERE for more than three years. Workers at all three properties have reported intense employer opposition and retaliation.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board recently concluded hearings concerning the first of the three hotels, finding Accor violated Ontario labour law at the Novotel Mississauga, and taking the extraordinary measure of awarding automatic union certification there. However, workers at two other Novotels in Ontario continue to press for union representation. "Taken as a whole, the Hotel's illegal activity was of such a nature that the wishes of the employees cannot be ascertained by a representation vote," ruled the Labour Board Vice Chair in its decision in the Novotel Mississauga case.
"Accor management has behaved the same way towards the union in the Novotel North York as it has at the Novotel Mississauga," said Daniel Bastien, who worked at the Novotel North York and is now an organizer with UNITE HERE. "I was hoping the company would take a new approach after the Novotel Mississauga decision - but we've already had to file a new complaint with the OLRB, because the day after the Novotel Mississauga decision, management was again holding anti-union meetings with workers in North York."
The union has given France-based Accor, the company that operates the Novotels, until November 21st to reach a fair settlement, after which time it will launch a boycott of all Novotel hotels in the province.
In addition, workers at the Novotel Toronto Centre, members of UNITE HERE since 1999, have been in contract negotiations with Accor management for more than two years. The parties have been in a legal strike/lock-out position since the summer of 2010. There have been two short strikes since then, and the hotel remains the only property without a settled contract out of a group of hotels that bargained at the same time in 2010-2011.
"Although we know a boycott of our own hotel might hurt business in the short term we're willing to make that sacrifice in order send a message to Accor that enough is enough," said Rik Hockley, a worker at the Novotel Toronto Centre. "The Labour Board already ruled against Accor at one hotel. We've been without a contract for more than two years. We want this French multi-national company to take some responsibility and respect the rights of its workers in Ontario."
UNITE HERE represents thousands of hotel and hospitality workers across Ontario and 265,000 workers across North America.
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