On strike for fairness! 120 Ramada workers in Regina enter seventh week of strike
July 18, 2012
On June 4th, approximately 120 workers walked off the job and took up picket signs at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. They have been without a contract for just over one year.
The key issue in the strike is standards. The Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre, a large full-service downtown hotel that recently completed a $3 million upgrade, pays lower wages than most comparable hotels in the city. By the end of a four-year agreement, they would fall even further behind.
“The cost of living is going up,” said Allan Daniels, who makes $11.76 as a night cleaner. “Rent, food, everything’s going up. It’s been difficult to make ends meet.” Daniels supports his niece and her children.
Saskatchewan’s economy is one of the hottest in Canada. GDP grew by 5% in 2011 and unemployment has averaged 4.8% this year, the lowest in Canada.
The hotel has bussed up non-union workers from Saskatoon to make up for the shortfall.
“Service industry employees are among the lowest paid workers,” said Gary Whalen, president of Local 41, UNITE HERE, “largely because we have a lot of immigrants and they get pushed around, taken advantage of.”
Workers at the Ramada are fighting back, voting by 90% to reject the employer’s last offer in early July. The strikers have enjoyed strong local support, with friendly customer groups cancelling bookings at the hotel, and numerous solidarity rallies.