Hospitality workers have had enough!
UNITE HERE Local 261, the union representing those workers is calling for the occupation of Ottawa by protesters and demonstrators to end.
COVID-19 devastated the hotel and hospitality industry in Ottawa and throughout Canada. Far from bringing freedom, the occupation has threatened the recovery those workers need and deserve.
Over the past three weeks, demonstrators have occupied several locations in the city, including most of its downtown. Demonstrators have engaged in harassing behaviour and have displayed symbols of hate groups. This is abhorrent and unacceptable. This behaviour and theses symbols are disgusting evidence that this occupation does not represent the values of Canadians and UNITE HERE Local 261 members and officers.
Before the convoy took over the downtown streets and other parts of the city, February was to have been a month in which our members could and should have looked forward to more work as restaurants, hotels, and other parts of the service industry starts to come back to life. That is now the opposite of what has happened. Instead, workers are facing significant challenges attempting to reach their workplaces. Tourism bookings have cancelled, leaving members laid off and struggling financially.
UNITE HERE Local 261 is calling on the demonstrators and protesters to leave the City of Ottawa and allow workers to get back to their jobs, so they can feed their families and pay their bills. The Local is also calling on all elected and responsible officials at all levels to make sure Ottawa is liberated so that hospitality and other Ottawa workers can get back to work.
Important message from the Secretary-Treasurer
February 1, 2022
Memo To: All Management
We are writing to get your help in making sure employees at the Hotel can continue to have healthy and safe workplaces.
The current disruptions in the city from the convoy and related activities appear to be ongoing. We have had reports of guests refusing to wear masks in public areas of local hotels. This is a violation of COVID-19 requirements. It also increases the risk of transmission of the disease, particularly if the individual is not vaccinated.
We have also been told about guests being disrespectful or aggressive to employees who are wearing masks and maintaining proper COVID distancing or other protocols while doing their jobs.
We want to be clear that this does not appear to be the way the majority of guests are behaving, but those who have done so have placed employees at risk.
We are asking for the Hotel to commit that it will ensure guests wear masks in common areas and that employees are not required to go into rooms if a guest is not wearing a mask. If guests refuse to comply with this requirement, they must be told they will no longer be able to stay at the premises. We also want the Hotel to confirm that there will be no tolerance of any abusive behaviour toward employees by guests, whether for wearing masks, ensuring proper distancing, or otherwise.
We hope the Local has the commitment of management to keep hotel employees safe as we try to keep the economy working in these difficult times.
Financial Secretary-Treasurer & Business Manager