Empress Hotel workers give 72-hour strike notice

In Victoria, picket lines could be up at the Fairmont Empress Hotel as early as Thursday if owners cannot make a serious proposal to the union representing 500 staff members.

Unifor representatives say some workers have clocked 60 consecutive days on the job and they want to see limits on overtime demands and workloads for employees.

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"They did the handsome renovation on the hotel but what they haven't done is factor in the cleaning of this newly renovated hotel and they're just breaking the backs of the housekeeper in particular", says Stu Shields of Unifor.

"I'm confident we can work through our differences, but the owners have to show some appreciation to the workers who are making the Empress a successful business", he said.

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Empress Hotel owner Nat Bosa has made significant investments in the historic hotel, but Unifor says his investments have ignored the needs of workers that make the hotel famous.

The dispute stems from growing frustration about staffing levels.

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Uniform Local 4276 represents almost 500 workers at the Empress, including those in housekeeping, groundskeeping, serving, engineering and guest relations. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.

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