Comment 26395

By Dennis (anonymous) | Posted August 16, 2008 at 15:39:46

When I read the comments of historian a few days ago I immediately contacted my mother who worked on the Front Desk at the Royal Connaught and was also a Union rep on the committee. This is the incident as she remembers. It started when The United Way of Hamilton had booked the Connaught to hold a meeting while the Hotel was on strike and being run with scabs. When Greenwood of the Labour Council learned of it he contacted the head of the United Way, a Bishop Brothwick or Bothwell a name like that, and asked him to find another location. When the Bishop was not showing any empathy for the workers on strike Greenwood told him that he would inform the other Unions in Hamilton to get their members to withhold their pay-roll deductions to the UW until the strike was settled. Needless to say the Bishop folded. When my mother and other Connaught union members heard this from the Spec, or CHML (she doesn't remember) they contacted Harry Greenwood to express their own concerns about how they were being represented by the Bartenders Union, he immediately contacted the Business Agent and no one knows what was said or took place in that exchange but when the bargaining resumed Harry had become the main spokesperson for the workers with the Business Agent sitting quietly by. In the first exchange the Lawyers (from Toronto)told Greenwood that he was not needed and that the union had been given a final offer and if they refused to accept it the Hotel would fall to the wrecker's ball (their words) and become a parking lot in a month. My mother thinks that all Harry said was OK (her friend recalls he said nothing) and then rose and had everyone else follow him out of the room. Outside when asked by the press how negotitiona were going he told them that the Hotel was to be demolished and he would fight for severence pay for the workers. When the Press contacted the Hotel management to confirm this they denied it and immediately asked Harry to come back to bargain. Back in the room the lawyers were very quiet and Paul Sullivan the former manager joined the Connaught management and after four hours of discussion there was a settlement. My mother still refers to Harry Greenwood as a saint and the best President the labour Council ever had. Oh and she insists that Greenwood would not cross the Union picket line and had the talks moved to the Holiday Inn. Maybe historian can recall more.

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