Fairmont Empress Workers to Hold Strike Vote After Talks Break off

August 16, 2010, 8:15 AM EST

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The Fairmont Empress Hotel could find itself behind picket lines as early as the end of August. The collective agreement between the hotel and CAW Local 4276 expires at midnight on August 31, with no talks currently scheduled.

A strike vote has been called for Thursday, August 19 and meetings will be held throughout the day.

"We have made some progress since starting bargaining in July but things stalled quickly last week when we began discussions on monetary issues," said Stu Shields, CAW national representative. 

Shields said the wage and benefit package is a big issue and the hotel's offer was far below the kind of increases negotiated in Fairmont hotels across the country. "The Empress has fared the economic downturn well and business continues to increase, so there's no reason workers there should see lower compensation than their counterparts at other Fairmont hotels," said Shields.  There are also a number of non-monetary issues outstanding including the application of part-time versus full-time scheduling, inconsistencies around workload and seniority.

CAW Local 4276 represents nearly 500 members who work in almost every area of the hotel.

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