June 17, 2020
TORONTO – This week’s announcement that Marriott International will delay plans to complete renovations and re-open its Yorkville location as a W Hotel citing the COVID-19 pandemic will not affect unionized jobs, Unifor has ascertained.
“As the worst effects of the pandemic may be behind us and workplaces begin to re-open, the last thing we want is for workers to find they have no job to come back to,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We knew this renovation would be lengthy and were sure to protect our members’ job security in the event of delays, changes, or, as it turns out, emergencies that would halt the project.”
In July of last year, Marriott announced it would undertake a $40 million redevelopment project that will transform its current Marriott property located in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood in to the first W Hotel in Canada. The development plans involve a significant upgrade to the property, particularly in its food and beverage services and a near-doubling of unionized hotel jobs at the site.
Marriott International, Inc.’s announcement to delay the re-opening of the hotel property adds to the difficulties workers in the hospitality industry have already faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Unifor’s collective agreement provisions put in place last year provide essential protections for hospitality workers including:
- guarantees that the employer could not convert the property to condominiums;
- prevention of any subcontracting of union members’ work;
- elimination of incentives to refuse housekeeping service with harmful programs such as the ‘Green Choice;’
- protections of workers’ fundamental rights to return to their jobs after lengthy renovations.
“The bottom line is that no matter how long it takes to complete the W Hotel’s renovations, existing workers are guaranteed the right to return to their old job or a comparable job, without having to reapply,” said Dias.
As hospitality workers continue to face some of the most devastating layoffs across the country, Unifor continues to engage with all levels of government to advocate for necessary supports to workers affected by the pandemic including expanding direct financial assistance programs as well as providing pharmacare for all.