14.9.05

36

The struggle of Omni hotel workers continues. This is a struggle for respect, as they write in their blog:
Nous avons l’intention d’obtenir le respect qui nous est dû. C’est pourquoi, nous entendons bien rester dehors tant qu’il ne sera pas possible de rentrer au travail dignement avec une convention cinq étoiles comme les autres travailleuses et travailleurs de l’hôtellerie.

(My) Translation: They're not giving up until they get the respect they fucking deserve!

You can, perhaps, tell I'm very angry about this. It's because what the workers are asking for is so minimal, that it exposes with incredible accuracy the brutality and callousness of capitalism. Omni management refuse to grant the CSN-represented workers the following demands:
"1. des augmentations salariales de 3%, 4% et 4% respectivement, pour chacune des trois années du contrat de travail venant à échéance le 30 juin 2008
[salary increases of 3%, 4% and 4% respectively, each year for three years of the contract going into effect on June 30 2008];

2. l’obtention d’une allocation de départ à la retraite pour les salarié-e-s de 55 ans et plus
[a retirement allowance for workers over 55 years];

3. huit jours de congé de maladie par année payables la première journée dont sept sont monnayables
[eight (!) paid sick days per year];

4. le partage des primes d’assurance et l’avance des prestations par l’employeur en cas de non-paiement par l’assureur
[that the employer pays a share of insurance premiums].

For those of you not familiar with the economic landscape of downtown Montréal, let me put it to you this way: the Omni hotel is not "just" exploiting workers; it is superexploiting their labour for hyper-inflated profits by denying them these basic rights (sick leave, security in retirement, a living wage with standard of living increases). In other words, ceding to the workers' demands would hardly bankrupt the Omni (as if that even should matter!). The Omni is a five-star hotel that caters to the international jet-set: it makes a shitload of money off workers' backs; it can afford to treat them (a little more) like human beings.

To show solidarity with striking workers, we can show up at the picket line at the corner of Sherbrooke (west) and Peel, any day, any time between 8:00 a.m. and 8 p.m. Or, you can make a donation to their strike fund. As they say, it takes just a little bit of our time, but it means a lot to them:
Les personnes qui voudraient nous témoigner leur $olidarité sont invitées à se rendre sur la ligne de piquetage, tous les jours, de 8 heures à 20 heures, au coin des rues Sherbrooke Ouest et Peel et/ou à faire parvenir leur don au CCMM. C’est un geste qui prend peu de temps mais qui fait tellement chaud au cœur quand on se heurte à un employeur aussi têtu et irrespectueux que l’Omni Montréal.

And of course -- boycott the Omni! (Not like for most of us it is even within the realm of possibility to enter through its gilded doors!)

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