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Coppley workers vote overwhelmingly for Workers over UNITE
Nov '09
The Ontario Labour Relations Board confirmed that 96 per cent of workers at Coppley Apparel in Hamilton, Ontario chose to be represented by the Workers United Ontario Council rather than UNITE HERE. This is the tenth straight win for Workers United over UNITE HERE in a series of Board elections that have included unanimous votes for Workers United over UNITE HERE at two Compass foodservice workplaces and at a Niagara area hotel.

"I am proud of my co-workers at Coppley Apparel for making this strong stand against UNITE HERE's raids," said James Deane, President of the Workers United Ontario Council and a cutter at Coppley Apparel. "In my more than forty years in the trade union movement, I've never seen a union that ignores the democratic choice of members the way that UNITE HERE has. Our local voted in March, our members signed petitions and our Council clearly said that Workers United was our choice for our union. The vote at the OLRB is really just our way of telling these jerks at UNITE HERE where they can go."

Members of Workers United began signing union cards and filing for OLRB elections after UNITE HERE refused to recognize their democratic choice to leave UNITE HERE. The Workers United Ontario Council voted to end their affiliation with UNITE HERE in March 2009, signing an agreement with UNITE HERE to split the union in Ontario. In a direct violation of that agreement, UNITE HERE began a raid against Workers United, trying to take the union's bargaining rights from the members who voted to leave.

"Signing an agreement and then going back on it really tells you a lot about UNITE HERE," said Donna Marsh, a room attendant at the Comfort Inn Hotel in Niagara whose co-workers recently voted unanimously for Workers United over UNITE HERE. "UNITE HERE Local 75 never cared about us and that is why we formed our own local and joined the Ontario Council a few years ago. Their behavior really speaks for itself and members of the Workers United Ontario Council have been letting their votes speak for them in these Board elections."

Votes have for almost 1300 workers have take place since September and workers have successfully fought back delays by UNITE HERE which filed motions to prevent workers' votes from being counted.

Workers United, an affiliate of SEIU, is a union of 150,000 workers in Canada and the US who work in the laundry, food service, hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile, manufacturing and distribution industries and includes members from predecessor unions like the ILGWU, ACTWU, UNITE and UNITE HERE.

Workers United

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Courtesy: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

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