Hospitality workers demand safer working conditions
Almost 100 staff members from the Rosewood Hotel Georgia protested at the intersection of Howe and Georgia streets Thursday evening, demanding safer working conditions, better wages and more supplies.
Union spokesperson Michelle Travis told CTV News the hotel has been rated number one in the country so, “the best hotel in the country should offer the best standard (for employees) in the country.”
According to the union, some staff need more than one job to make ends meet and their medical benefits expanded. Travis also told CTV News that supplies are an issue—cleaning staff run out of linens and cooks in the kitchen “don’t have the ingredients they need to deliver the high level of service they need to provide.”
Travis also told CTV News a number of women have raised issues of sexual harassment, so the union is asking for panic buttons to be added in guest rooms.
“There have been several incidents where guests have harassed the staff,” she said. “We want to make sure there are protocols in place so that the hotel can deal with that.”
She said the union has been able to work out an agreement with the hotel operator at the Rosewood to address a number of those issues. But the union wants to see more action taken on a much larger scale.
“We really need them to start paying attention and taking negotiations more seriously,” said Octavian Cadabeschi, a researcher with UNITE HERE Local 40.
In a statement emailed to CTV News, Pacific Reach Properties said, “Rosewood Hotel Georgia deeply values the contributions of our associates and we respect the right of all people to express their views on important issues. Rosewood Hotel Georgia is fully committed to maintaining a fair work environment for all employees and we remain dedicated to providing our guests with genuine service and exceptional experiences.”
There are approximately 1,500 hotel workers represented by this union at five different hotels, including the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The other hotels are the Four Seasons, the Westin Bayshore, the Hyatt and the Pinnacle Hotel.
Negotiations between the union and the hotel management are ongoing.