Workers at the Hotel Omni on Sherbrooke Street in Montréal are still on strike after a lock-out on July 8th, holding out despite management's illegal hiring of scab labour to keep the hotel running, intimidation tactics, and the international jet set crossing the picket lines. For almost three months, they have been marching in a tight circle on Sherbrooke at Peel. Their demands? Minimal, to say the least: a gradual wage increase (11% over three years) and the abolition of the "wage ladder" (so, after 30 days on the job, it's equal pay for equal work (from Strike/A Infos). These have been won by other hotel workers in the city, who participated in the general strike of July 8 and have since arrived at agreement with management. But since workers at each hotel have to negotiate separately with management, and Omni management refuses to negotiate, the workers at the Omni are still on the picket line.

I walk past the Omni picket line nearly every day, and I am struck by the energy and commitment of the striking workers. It's audible, it's visible, it's palpable. And there is a larger lesson, in this, for non-unionized workers, namely, that only with collective action can better working conditions be won. As Utah Phillips, bard of the insurgent worker, croons, better conditions won't come as a gift from the benevolent bosses, and they won't come without struggle. The so-called hospitality and service sectors are largely non-unionized, and attempts to form workers' associations in these industries has been met with union-busting and even the wholesale relocation of business (as happened after attempts to unionize WalMarts in Québec). Insecurity and violations of labour rights abound in the kitchens of your city, between stacks of sweaters at the shopping mall, under high-thread-count sheets and inside toilets scrubbed daily where you lie your head and seat your seat. To abide the violence of drudgery is one thing. To live under constant fear of being fired, of becoming homeless, of inescapable poverty, of humiliation, is another. Drudgery, more than insecurity, is perhaps an inescapable feature of work under capitalism. If only a revolution can do something about the former, a militant union can do something about the latter.

So while we are "waiting" for the revolution...let's support workers in their struggle at the Omni. in Montréal, this Thursday, at 6:15 p.m., there is a solidarity rally with the Omni Hotel workers. Meeting spot is Metro Peel, at the exit on Stanley. Soyons Omniprésent-e-s

Dans la lutte, soyons Omniprésent-e-s!
Jeudi 1er septembre 18h15
Métro Peel (sortie Stanley)

Alors que les conflits dans la plupart des hôtels de Montréal ont été réglés au début de l'été en faveur des employé-e-s , le conflit à l'hôtel Omni (coin Sherbrooke et Peel) perdure. Les grèvistes, de par la loi, sont limités dans leurs moyens d'action. À chaque jour, ils et elles voient des scabs faire leur travail, pour ainsi assurer que l'argent continue d'entrer pour les patrons. En fait, l'Omni, un hôtel 4 étoiles, roule présentement à plein régime, toutes ses chambres sont occupées.

Le Réseau de Solidarité des Travailleurs-euses, un nouveau regroupement syndical de travailleurs-euses basé sur la démocratie et l'action directe, dénonce l'utilisation de scabs à l'Omni et l'arrogance des patrons qui refusent de négocier. En réponse à cette situation, le Réseau a organisé déjà deux actions de solidarité avec les travailleurs-euses en grève visant
à augmenter la pression sur les patrons de l'Omni afin qu'ils cèdent aux revendications des grévistes.

Ces actions de solidarité avaient pour but concret de contrer les effets injustes que les lois imposent aux grévistes et qui leur font craindre les injonctions. En d'autres mots, renforcir le combat des grévistes en impliquant des gens non directement touchés par le conflit. Malgré que cela n'a pas encore débouché sur un dénouement positif dans les négociations, les syndiqué-e-s de la base ont semblé dans leur ensemble fortement apprécié notre présence et notre solidarité.

Ce jeudi 1er septembre à 18h15 au métro Peel (sortie Stanley), c'est un autre rendez-vous à tous et toutes intéressé-e-s à venir faire acte de présence sur la ligne de piquetage afin de témoigner encore une fois notre solidarité envers nos camarades en lutte à l'hôtel Omni.

Confrontons les patrons avec notre meilleure arme : notre solidarité !

"Pour un syndicalisme de combat"
Réseau de Solidarité des Travailleurs-euses
rst.wsn@gmail.com, 859-9092



Thank you for your support. We have been on strike for 8 weeks now. The hotel says they will continue to use scabs as long as the want to. They don't respect workers and they don't respect the law.

6:50 a.m.  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:51 a.m.  
Blogger a.c. said...

CSN Omni,
Best of luck in your struggle against management. What can people do to most effectively support you?
In solidarity,

2:26 p.m.  

#1 is to Boycott Omni Hotels. Pass by the picket line and tell us that you support us. We don't bite. Thanks.

5:26 p.m.  

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