VICTORIA — The Empress Hotel management’s push for concessions at the bargaining table has forced members of Unifor Local 4276 to serve strike notice for 8 a.m. on March 7.
With more than 12,000 members at hotels and casinos across the country, Unifor is one of largest Canadian unions in the hospitality-and-gaming sector. Hospitality is one of the largest employers in Canada, with more than 1.2 million people working in the sector.
“The Empress’ owner needs to think again if he thinks we’re going to let him degrade working conditions,” says Jerry Dias, national president, Unifor. “You can’t have a first-class hotel without first-class service and first-class working conditions.”
The Local represents almost 500 Empress workers in the housekeeping, culinary, groundskeeping, serving, guest relations, maintenance and engineering departments.
“We’re confident we can sign a new collective this week if the employer stops playing games with concessions,” says James Griffin, president, Local 4276. “Unifor members at the Empress are committed to the future of this historic hotel, but we’re not prepared to go backwards with our basic working conditions.”