Hotel workers in Toronto and across the GTA need a union that puts us first. It has never been clearer than over the past two years during the pandemic. That is why hotel workers have partnered with the CSN to form the Toronto Hospitality Employees Union (THEU–CSN). The THEU is a workers’ union. It is a union in which people decide for themselves. It is a union in which we, the members, make decisions that affect our lives and work. It is a union that belongs to us.That is why we say: “Be the ‘U’!”

The Highest Standards in Canada

Within the CSN, the symbol that represents hotel workers is an image of five stars. These five stars represent our pride in ourselves, our work, and our union.

At the THEU–CSN, our five stars represent the A, B, C, D, and E of “The ‘U’.”

“A” is for autonomy

  • The THEU is an autonomous union. That means that we, the members of the THEU–CSN, get to make union decisions without outside interference or control.
  • However, that does not mean that we are alone.
  • We are part of the CSN, a well-resourced union with over 325,000 members, which gives us a powerful set of tools, support, and allies to help us achieve the goals that we set.

“B” is for bargaining power and strong benefits 

  • The CSN Fairmont Queen Elizabeth collective agreement is thousands of dollars ahead of what we have right now at the Fairmont Royal York in the following areas, among others:
    • Wages
    • Pension
    • Vacation leave

This is the case even though room rates and the cost of living are higher in Toronto than in Montréal.

How do we achieve this?

  • CSN hotels work together during bargaining to achieve the highest standards.
  • We will be supported by a union with over 325,000 members and a large team dedicated to assisting hotel workers with achieving their goals.
  • We will have the support of a Professional Defence Fund (strike fund) of over $110 million!

It has been done before!

  • Hotel workers in Quebec were in the same situation that we find ourselves in here in Toronto today.
  • UNITE HERE Local 31 was falling apart, corrupt, and unable to effectively represent Quebec hotel workers.
  • They left to join the CSN, and their standards began to improve
  • When hotel workers began to leave UNITE HERE to join the CSN, the CSN brought them all together.
  • With each new agreement, hotel workers in the CSN began establishing new standards for their wages and working conditions. These new standards would then serve as a model for all other hotels.
  • Employers were then faced with two choices: 1) follow suit and make a deal, or 2) choose to refuse to meet the standards for their own workers that had already been accepted by their competitors.
  • Employers who chose option 2 faced the entire CSN organization, which was fighting alongside its workers. The results were remarkable.

The highest hotel standards in North America

By bringing all hotel workers together in rounds of coordinated bargaining, the CSN and its members succeeded in raising industry standards to levels not seen anywhere else in North America. The wages and working conditions achieved by CSN unions over 10 rounds of bargaining are clearly among the best in North America (if not the world). In 2021–2022, staff at over 24 Quebec hotels engaged in a round of coordinated bargaining. By the end of 2021, 17 of these hotels had already achieved the CSN’s pandemic standard of wage increases of 8% over 4 years, better job protection—a critical issue during the pandemic—and even better benefits. No concessions were made by the unions.

This took place while hotel unions in Ontario were settling for wage freezes and 1% increases and making numerous concessions.

“C” is for committee and participation

  • At the THEU–CSN, we know that a strong union has broad participation from its members. To achieve this participation, THEU–CSN leaders will work hard to encourage people to join the workplace union committee so that there are leaders for every shift and every classification for each department.
  • The greater our participation, the stronger our committee.
  • We will have more bargaining power to negotiate the best collective agreement to achieve the standard reached by the CSN Fairmont Queen Elizabeth union.
  • Management will respect our collective agreement. Management will no longer be able to do whatever it wants and laugh at our union.
  • Management will treat all of us with respect while we are at work.

“D” is for democracy 

  • A democratic union is a strong union.
  • The constitution of the THEU–CSN guarantees that members are the ones making important decisions.
  • Elected leaders are required to implement member decisions.
  • All positions are elected by the members themselves:
  • Shop stewards are elected every two years by the members of their departments.
  • All bargaining committee members are elected by the members of their departments.
  • THEU–CSN Executive Committee members are elected by the members of the hotels that they represent.
  • At the THEU–CSN, WE, the members, are in control of our union!

“E” is for equity, diversity, and inclusion 

  • Members of the THEU–CSN know that we are strongest when we stand together.
  • We have come from all over the world to live and work in Toronto—we are of different religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.
  • We celebrate our differences and see them as a source of strength when we stand together.
  • We will not allow ourselves to be divided by anyone!
  • Diversity is one of the greatest things about Toronto. The same is true about our union.

A, B, C, D, E