Local 261 is the leading union for hotel and food service workers in Canada’s Capital Region. The Local has a strong tradition of organizing, and its members enjoy some of the highest standards in Canada. Like its parent union, UNITE HERE International, Local 261 has maintained its focus on the core hospitality industries since its inception. Approximately 1200 members work in over 15 hotels; another 1000 members are employed in cafeterias and restaurants, predominantly operated by the three big food service firms, Aramark, Sodexo and Compass, and 300 members work at the Ottawa International Airport. UNITE HERE Canada represents just over 20,000 workers, predominantly in the hotel and food service industry, in major urban areas as well as remote camps. UNITE HERE International Union is the largest union for hospitality workers in the world, with a membership exceeding 250,000.
We believe in the brotherhood and sisterhood of unions and have fought side by side with other unions – particularly through the Ottawa District Labour Council, with whom we have a long and close relationship. We’ve helped extend new standards, like the forty-hour work week, eight (8) hour workdays (hours over 8 become overtime pay) and guaranteed reporting pay of eight (8), six (6) and four (4) hours if an employee is scheduled and no work is available, along with increased benefits in the areas of health & welfare, vacation and pensions to our sector.
We have had to be creative and invent new ways to defend the rights of the hospitality workers and will continue to do so as we work to increase benefits for all workers in t he industry.