Thousands of workers at 17 Greater Toronto Area hotels have voted against defecting to Unifor and will stay with Unite Here Local 75.

On Thursday, Unite Here said Unifor tried to raid members from 24 of the 48 hotels it represents, which Unifor said resulted in a dozen votes. While Unite Here came out on top at the majority of the hotels, Unifor managed to recruit 800 workers from four hotels. Those who defected are employed at the Courtyard Marriott, Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Westin Prince and Delta Toronto Airport hotel. 

Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor's president Jerry Dias, said he was "confident" the results will indicate that the 399 workers at the three hotels voted in Unifor's favour.

"We are pleased people were able to make a choice and the democratic process worked," Doherty said.

Results a blow to Unifor

The votes are a blow for Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union, which has been attempting to court workers from other unions since it left the Canadian Labour Congress in mid-December after complaining about the congress's regulations around allowing workers to change unions.

Ahead of Wednesday's hotel vote, CLC president Hassan Yussuf and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas had urged Unifor to stop trying to recruit members of rival unions.

Results are to be released in the next few weeks. A winner had yet to be declared in the votes at the Hyatt Regency, Sheraton airport hotel and Four Points airport hotel.

The delay in declaring a victor at those hotels stems from a complaint from workers regarding the Ontario Labour Relations Board's method of sealing ballot boxes.

The workers also raised concerns about Unifor's tactics and asked for their signatures to be revoked from Unifor petitions because they were upset by "bullying in the workplace" and feeling "misled in the raiding efforts," Unite Here said in a statement. 

Kayann Drummond, a guest services agent at the Sheraton Centre, also alleged in the statement that Unifor's "entire set of actions have been to mislead and deceive workers in a blatant power grab."

Unifor spokesman Doherty said he had "no idea" what they were talking about.

As for pleas for the union to stop raiding members and repair its relationship with the Congress, Doherty said, "we haven't patched anything up, but are continuing to be open to having conversations on returning to the congress."