Saskatoon, Sask. – September 7, 2023 – This morning, 85 workers have been locked out by their employer Heritage Inn Hotels in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.
UFCW Local 1400, representing the workers, has been attempting to bargain with Heritage Inn Hotels for months to arrive at a new collective agreement. However, the company is demanding a full list of concessions from the workers. They have not even given an offer for the workers to vote on, and there has been no appeal to the government for a final offer vote.
Heritage Inn Hotels are demanding unreasonable and unfair concessions from their workers: they demand that benefits and protections in current agreements be removed entirely. The workers have negotiated for many years to earn these benefits, like vision and dental, and do not deserve for them to be removed.
“These locked out workers are the same workers that were asked to risk their health and safety during the COVID pandemic, and now the employer wants to put them on the street,” says UFCW 1400 President Lucia Flack Figueiredo.
Hotel workers include housekeepers, front desk staff, banquet servers, cooks, and more. It is frequently backbreaking work for very low pay – hospitality workers were front-line workers during the pandemic, putting their health at risk to keep facilities clean and safe. The employer should be treating their workers with the respect they deserve.
“We are asking for the public's support by not crossing the picket line and ensuring that these workers can protect their benefits,” says Figueiredo. “The workers at Heritage Inn are hard-working members of their communities and love their jobs – they deserve a better deal than this disrespectful treatment.”
In addition, Heritage Inn Hotels is tying wages to the Saskatchewan minimum wage, with wages starting at minimum wage and the only increase coming from government-mandated minimum wages increases for the next seven years. Outside of the minimum wage increases, they have offered only the most nominal of increases to the members, in specific classifications, ranging from $0.09 to $0.83 per hour over the almost 7-year term that they are proposing for the new collective agreement.
“Heritage Inn Hotels need to understand that they are not just locking out a handful of workers in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “They are facing one of the biggest private-sector unions in North America. The workers at Heritage Inn Hotels are backed up with the strength of UFCW Canada and the International Union, and our members at Heritage Inn Hotels have our full support in getting the fairness and respect they so deserve.”
UFCW Canada Local 1400 is Saskatchewan’s largest private-sector union, with members working across the province in the food processing, food retail, service, hospitality, health care, financial and other sectors. To find out more about UFCW 1400, visit ufcw1400.ca.