Thursday, April 2, 2009

Victory to St. Catharines workers

Overwhelming community support brings victory to St. Catharines workers

(St. Catharines) Diane Barnim, a hotel worker at the Holiday Inn—St. Catharines, and the star of the celebrity-studded “I Stand With Diane” campaign has something to celebrate: her employer has agreed to certification of the union that she helped build.

“It’s been a long time coming, but Diane and her co-workers finally have the union they wanted. The employer thought that by firing Diane they would be able to stop the union but we are stronger than that, Diane is stronger than that” said Alex Dagg, Canadian Director of the newly formed union Workers United.

Last summer, workers at the Holiday Inn—St. Catharines began a campaign to form a union at the hotel. After workers started signing cards saying they wanted the union , one of the leaders of the campaign, Diane, was fired in early September, and the campaign came to a halt. Under a interim labour board order, the hotel hired Diane back where she worked for the next six months. The union, along with community partners, gradually increased pressure on the hotel to recognize the union.

“I am glad to see that the hotel finally saw reason and decided to accept the union. My co-workers, and fellow union members, look forward to working with management to make this the best year yet,” said Diane Barnim.

Participating in the campaign were actor Sarah Polley, actor Dannny Glover, actor Harry Belafonte, MPP Peter Kormos, and MP Malcolm Allen. More than 500 people registered their support for Diane by adding their name on to the www.IStandWithDiane.ca website. You can also see videos of supporters on the site.

Diane will be a member of local 2347. Local 2347 -- Niagara represents hospitality workers in the Niagara Region. Formerly of UNITE HERE, Local 2347 is part of the newly formed Workers United which is dedicated to aggressively organizing workers in the service industries as well as strengthening worker democracy.

For more information please call 905-358-2347

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