March, 1983, No. 91

Ed Jackson

p. 17.

Bathhouse workers form landmark union

TORONTOThe Roman's II Health Spa has become the first of the city's gay-run bars and baths to bt: unionized. Union reps sat down with management February 10 to begin negotiations for the staff's first collective agreement.

The man responsible for convincing workers to orgarlize was Darryl Arsenault. Roman's owners Jayne and Robert Taylor chose to dispense with the usual Labour Relations Board hearing and agreed to certification.

Employees now belong to Local 725 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and Arsenault, chosen by staff to represent them at negotiations, immediately became the union's first test case. He was abruptly fired after he could not return to work at the end of a short medical leave of absence for a back injury sustained while lifting loads of towels in the establishment's laundry.

At a complaint hearing February 2, a Labour Relations Board chairman urged the two sides of the dispute to settle immediately qlltside of arbitration. Later the same day, the Roman's agreed to rehire Arsenault as soon as he waS able to return to work.

The Roman's lawyer at the hearing was a partner in the law office of Donald J McKillop, considered in labour circles to be one of the city's half-dozen anti-union legal Firms.

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Last modified: July 2, 1997

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