Montreal hotels could be hit by snap strike
MONTREAL - Stalled contract talks have triggered strike votes to be held Thursday afternoon by unionized staff at two of Montreal's larger hotels, the Queen Elizabeth and the Hyatt Regency, union officials said.
The union leadership is seeking a secret-ballot mandate by which staff would authorize a single walkout or a series of walkouts at each hotel - near the peak of the tourist season - with no prior notice to management.
The total duration of the walkouts would for any hotel be limited to 72 hours, union officials said.
They would be held either by way of a series of short snap strikes or all in one shot.
A snap strike at the Queen Elizabeth, for instance, "could be (for) one hour, or four hours, or 12 hours, or 24 hours, or longer, " said Pascal Côté, president of the 600-member union there. With 1,052 rooms, the Queen E. is the largest hotel in Quebec.
Similar secret-ballot votes to obtain the same mandates are scheduled to be held Friday among unionized staff at the Sheraton Centre and the Delta Centreville, two other large downtown-core hotels.
The unions at all four of those hotels are part of co-ordinated contract-renewal bargaining being conducted by the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, or CSN, one of Quebec's large labour centrals.
The campaign covers a total of 41 hotels in Quebec. They have about 5,500 unionized staff. Most of those contracts expired July 1.
The CSN said it is initially targeting big Montreal hotels where it says it has been having difficulty obtaining improvements in local working conditions.
Wages have yet to be discussed at any of the 41 hotels.