The strike at Ontario’s largest casino resort, Caesars Windsor, may end as soon as Friday when workers are expected to vote on the tentative agreement signed earlier this week. The resort has been closed since April 6 after workers rejected the casino’s proposal for a new collective contract and announced labour strike.
Negotiations over the new agreement between Caesars Windsor and its employees started back in February but so far, have not been productive, as the two sides have not been able to agree on major issues such as wages, pension plans, and time off. A local labour union, Unifor Local 444, have participated in the talks on behalf of the approximately 2,300 workers it represents. In April, the talks broke off after casino officials walked off the bargaining table, at least according to the union. The two sides resumed negotiations on Tuesday and this time, they quickly led to the signing of a tentative agreement.
In the early hours of Thursday, Unifor Local 444 announced the news, adding that workers should maintain the picket lines until the agreement is ratified. Several hours later, union representatives said that a vote had been scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday. The vote will take place at the WFCU arena and entertainment complex in Windsor. On Wednesday, Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy said he was hopeful that the end of the strike is near. The terms in the new tentative agreement have not been shared publicly but if workers are satisfied with the proposal and vote in favour of it today, the strike may, indeed, end very soon.
Financial Consequences for Caesars Windsor
Since strike action was announced on April 6, workers held several rallies and organized barbecues, charitable giveaways, and more events. Meanwhile, the casino resort notified its guests and customers of a temporary closure – the casino was shut down, all hotel reservations were cancelled (with guests displaced), and concerts and events at the Colosseum were postponed. The temporary closure, however, continued for more than 40 days. In fact, it is ongoing and it is still unclear when operations can resume even if the strike ends today.
This will inevitably lead to serious financial consequences for Caesars Windsor, experts point out, adding that the closure will have a direct impact on the revenues for the second quarter of 2018. It is impossible to know for certain the actual harm to casino winnings, however, as Caesars Entertainment does not post detailed information for its individual properties in the regular revenue reports. For example, in the 2018 Q1 CEC Earnings Release, Caesars Windsor, which is the company’s only property in Canada, is listed under “All Other” operating segments, with the rest being “Las Vegas” and “Other US”.
According to the data in the report, net revenues for all three segments increased 104.1 per cent year-on-year in the three months ending March 31. While in Q1 2017, revenues were $966 million, they soared to $1.972 billion at the end of Q1 2018. All three segments posted increased earnings and we look at the “All Other”, where Caesars Windsor is listed, we can see a remarkable rise in net revenues from $12 million to $140 million year-on-year.