Toronto Hotel Workers Win Strike


MHI reprints the following letter from the United Steelworkers Union in Canada about the hotel workers’ victory and about “LaborStart” campaigns around the world:

Today is celebrated as Labour Day in Canada (and Labor Day in the USA) and I’m very pleased to pass on some great news:

Striking hotel workers in Toronto have won a huge victory, due in large part to the solidarity they were shown by fellow workers. The bitter 13 week long strike at the Toronto Plaza Hotel ended this weekend as 80% of the workers voted to ratify a new agreement with the company.

According to their union, the United Steelworkers, the new agreement “removes all the draconian concessions demanded by hotel management and even provides a wage increase. Also removed from the final settlement was management’s insistence on new language that would have gutted basic protections and rights of union workers.”  (Full details are here.)

According to a union staff representative, “Our members stood strong and their spirits were uplifted by the support they received from the labour movement, Toronto area steelworkers and the public throughout the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] and across Canada.”

At the request of their union, LabourStart launched an online campaign at the end of July targeting our Canadian supporters that generated 1,540 messages of protest.  According to a senior United Steelworkers official, “LabourStart played a key role in this victory.”

So thank you very much to everyone who supported this campaign — but let’s build upon this victory.  Let’s spread the word about other active LabourStart campaigns that aren’t over yet–and that might win if we can get thousands more trade unionists involved:

Show your support for public sector workers in Peru who are challenging a new law that threatens their rights

Help build the campaign in support of 147 jailed workers in India at the Maruti Suzuki plant

And in the Philippines, help demand justice for Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin, a trade union leader who was shot dead two months ago

If you’ve already supported these campaigns, great–but please make sure that your fellow union members know about them and sign up as well.

If you’re not sure that online campaigns work, just ask the workers at the Toronto Plaza Hotel.

Happy labo(u)r day to all of you!
Eric Lee


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