TORONTO — After much talk and heated negotiations, the hotel workers at 32 properties in Toronto have voted to authorize a strike to back contract demands. The union members belong to Local 75 of Unite Here, and while the group has green-lighted the action to strike by a vote of 94.2 per cent, should negotiations over a new agreement break down, only one downtown hotel, the Novotel on The Esplanade, is in jeopardy of a work stoppage. There are approximately 5,500 members in the union, though it is not known how many voted. Shift cuts and workplace conditions are the major issues in the negotiations over a new contract.
The timing of the announcement is a big part of this story, as the City of Toronto is already under much scrutiny as it announces its plans to accommodate many of the G20 nations’ political leaders at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on the June 25 weekend — as well as how it plans to deal with the swell of protestors that will surely follow. According to a CBC.ca story, some French delegates are slated to stay at the Novotel during the summit, with its workers possibly walking out two days before the G20 begins. According to the CBC story, the union ominously claims “it doesn’t want to hold Toronto hostage during the G20, but the action could be taken if working conditions don’t improve.”