Hotel Workers at Fairmont Palliser in Calgary Overwhelmingly Approve New Contract

September 15, 2009, 1:55 PM EST

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Workers at Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary, Alberta voted 97 per cent in favour of a tentative agreement reached between the CAW and the company on September 5, 2009.

The CAW, who represents the 246 workers, had been in a legal strike position after workers at the hotel voted 91 per cent in favour of strike action earlier this summer.

The new two-year agreement is retroactive to March 1, 2009 and will expire on February 28, 2011.  Wages in each year of the agreement add up to nearly 2.25 per cent in year one and 2.5 per cent in year two. 

"We were able to reach this agreement through the leadership of our bargaining committee and with the strong support of the workers at the hotel," said CAW National Representative Gavin McGarrigle

One of the key issues in bargaining had been the spread in wages in various classifications between the Fairmont Palliser hotel and the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and Fairmont Empress hotel, also represented by the CAW. 

The CAW bargaining committee negotiated significant wage adjustments for workers in the housekeeping, front desk, and kitchen departments, said McGarrigle.  This means that the total wage increases for housekeepers this year will be around 5.5 per cent and nearly 4.2 per cent in year two of the new deal.  Similar percentage increases will be in place for clerical and kitchen employees.

"The wage adjustments will help to close the gap in wage rates that exists with other major Fairmont hotels.  Although there is more work to be done, it's a tremendous victory to achieve these kind of increases, especially in a recession and we couldn't have achieved these gains without the solidarity of the workers," said McGarrigle.

 "There are far too many non-union hotels in Calgary and the workers at these properties need to look at organizing into the CAW to ensure that we can work together on creating more living wage jobs in the Alberta hotel industry," he added.

The CAW contract at the Fairmont Palliser expired on February 28, 2009 and the ratification vote was held on September 11, 2009.  The new agreement also contains some small changes to benefits and contract language.

CAW Local 4273 represents workers at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in a wide variety of departments including kitchen, banquets, front desk, guest services, maintenance, and housekeeping.

The CAW has also reached a tentative agreement at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on September 10, 2009 and is currently engaged in bargaining at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

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