River Rock Casino in Richmond made the headlines once again after it was reported that 99.5% of the casino staff voted in favor of a strike action. Quite unsurprisingly, the wages are the hot button once again. The majority of the River Rock casino workers will be on the picket line once again after 99.5% of unionized employees supported striking. The information was announced by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) – one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia.
BCGEU, which represents the employees explained that the casino workers are fighting for fair wages and improved working conditions. BCGEU President Stephanie Smith commented that the employees are ready to fight tooth and nail for their rights. She specified that the workers are currently getting ready to strike. Ms. Smith detailed that the next step in resolving the dispute includes meditation process between the two parties.
Reasons for River Rock Casino Workers’ Discontent
Workers at River Rock decided to join the union in January 2016. For more than a year, they have been trying to re-negotiate the working conditions with their employer, and more precisely Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (the company behind River Rock Casino). It became clear that many workers are also fighting for an improved health insurance. According to some casino workers, their health insurance was slashed despite the growing operating profits.
In May last year, the casino workers suggested a proposal for wage increases. According to reliable sources, in July Great Canadian responded to its employees request with, suggesting to cut the wages even more. As a result, about 1,100 workers announced that they will walk off their job for a strike.
The employees who voted in favor of a strike action include casino, food and beverage workers. Now roughly 400 casino workers, who handle everything from preparing the food to dealing the cards are planning to embark on a strike for a second time unless concessions are made. Needless to say, such a massive strike among River Rock Casino’s workers would have a negative effect on the casino’s operations and its reputation as an employer.
Casino workers expressed their frustration by the fact that the gambling operator enjoyed enhanced profits, while at the same time it refuses to raise the salaries of its staff. Moreover, in January this year, Great Canadian took over operations of the GTA Bundle, considered to be the largest award by Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation as part of the modernization of its casino operations.