The following letter was written by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, to Mike Ward, union representative for Workers United Canada Council Local 2347, which represents the workers at Rainforest Café, owned by Canadian Niagara Hotels. The workers have been on strike since April 9. Among their demands are a sexual harassment policy that takes allegations seriously.
May 9, 2019
Mr. Mike Ward
Union Representative, Local 2347
Workers United Canada Council
10a – 2800 Skymark Avenue
Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5A6
Dear Brother Ward:
On behalf of the Executive Board of OPSEU and our 155,000 members, I want you to know we stand in solidarity with you and the members of Local 2347 as you fight for a workplace that takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and puts in place a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind.
OPSEU is extremely disappointed by the shameful negligence Canadian Niagara Hotels (CNH) has shown when confronted with allegations of sexual impropriety. It adds insult to injury that the employer is now claiming female workers are “making up” the allegations.
In light of the recent #metoo movement and the profound societal shift that has taken place in attitudes towards sexual harassment, CNH’s behaviour is difficult to understand.
We are aware of the boycott of CNH and its spinoff enterprises, which the Ontario Federation of Labour has called for. Please rest assured that OPSEU is urging all our members, and all members of the public, to avoid CNH establishments until you have reached a new collective agreement.
In that regard, I am calling upon CNH’s management to return to the bargaining table, to address the question of a safe workplace, and to work quickly to reach a fair collective agreement.
If there is any way OPSEU can be of help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
c: Chris Buckley, President, Ontario Federation of Labour
Dino DiCienzo, President, Canadian Niagara Hotels Inc.