Second hotel stoppage as Toronto fest starts

Workers set to stage 24-hour strike at Royal York Hotel Friday

TORONTO -- Just as the Toronto International Film Festival gets underway Thursday, hotel workers are set to stage a 24-hour strike at the Royal York Hotel on Friday, a key destination for festival attendees.

The planned action will be similar to the one-day stoppage last Friday by unionized workers at the Hyatt Regency, TIFF's new host hotel (HR, 9/3).

Around 900 workers at the Royal York earlier voted 86% to walk off the job Friday if contract talks on a new agreement cannot reach a new deal by midnight Thursday.

Besides hosting industry players during the festival, the Royal York will feature celebrity swag rooms over the next ten days.

Local 75 of the Unite Here union said Royal York employees have been without a contract since July 16, and negotiations on a new deal started Aug. 9.

The union in a Sept. 1 open letter to TIFF CEO Piers Handling said it aimed not to disrupt the Toronto film festival, just to secure a new deal for hotel workers in the city.

"Wishing the film festival – and the hotel workers serving the guests of the film festival – a successful September 2010," the letter concluded.
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