July 19, 2016 09:34 ET

Rogers Centre Workers Cry Foul at Stadium Hotel

Union claims employer, Larco Hospitality, has broken the law numerous times in response to organizing drive at the Renaissance Downtown

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 19, 2016) - The union representing hospitality workers in the GTA, UNITE HERE Local 75, has filed charges with the Ontario Labour relations Board against Larco Hospitality, operator of the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, located in the Rogers Centre. Workers at the hotel are engaged in a union organizing drive, and the union claims Larco managers have repeatedly broken provincial labour law in an attempt to derail the drive.

"Our Executive Housekeeper told us she would be instructed to write us up every day if the union comes in," said Arlene Ginete, who works in the Housekeeping department at the hotel. "She said if we got to three write ups, we could be terminated. If I lose my job I can't support my family anymore. But I'm not going to bow down to intimidation - we're tired of the lack of respect at the hotel."

"Some Larco management have even followed us around off-property after work," said Luz Flores, a Room Attendant at the hotel. "Management spying on us after work in our regular lives can feel pretty intimidating. This is why we want to join the union in the first place. I want to be valued for my hard work, not treated like I'm doing something wrong."

Many of the 185 workers at the property are immigrants, women and people of colour, reflecting the demographics of the hospitality industry city-wide. On Friday, a community delegation, led by Toronto & York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright, and Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto - Danforth, visited Larco management at the hotel, calling on the company to obey provincial labour law and allow for a fair union vote free of intimidation and harassment. The delegation also included community and student leaders from across the city.

On Monday, a delegation of workers representing the 1,200 mostly young people working at the Rogers Centre also visited management. Rogers Centre food service workers are also represented by UNITE HERE Local 75.

"We are the children of immigrants, said Suleman Basharat, a UNITE HERE Local 75 Shop Steward at the Rogers Centre. "We saw how much our parents struggled to give us the opportunity for a better life. The workers at the Renaissance remind us of our parents. We'll do whatever it takes to make sure nothing bad happens to them."

After months of meetings and discussions, the union filed a union certification application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) last Thursday. The union vote itself will likely take place this Thursday.

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