Image: Chris Allen Photography

Growing frustrations about staffing levels have forced Unifor Local 4276, the union representing about 500 workers at the Empress Hotel,  to serve 72-hour strike notice.

A strike could begin as early as Thursday morning.

Unifor says that under-staffing is leading to forced overtime and unrealistic demands on existing workers. According to Unifor, some staff have worked more than sixty consecutive days.

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“The ‘new’ Empress has a dirty secret: the renovations have led to harm and stress on the people who work there,” said Stu Shields, Unifor National Representative. “The renovations have been a terrible health and safety risk for hotel workers.”

“I’m confident we can work through our differences, but the owners have to show some appreciation to the workers who are making the Empress a successful business,” said Shields.

Empress Hotel owner Nat Bosa has made significant investments in the historic hotel, but Unifor says his investments have ignored the needs of workers that make the hotel famous.

“The renovations are incomplete if the staffing levels remain stuck in the past,” said Shields.

Unifor Local 4276 represents almost 500 Empress workers in housekeeping, culinary, grounds keeping, serving, guest relations, maintenance, and engineering.

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