Workers at the popular Ontario Caesars Windsor casino have supported strike action, with an overwhelming majority of 98,3 per cent of them voting to stop work if their demands have not been met. This was announced Wednesday evening by Unifor Local 444, the trade union, representing employees at the casino.
The unionized Caesars Windsor workers attended an information meeting and strike vote organized by Unifor Local 444 at Fogolar Furlan Club on Wednesday. Four groups of workers voted in four separate ballots held throughout the day and in the evening, the union announced that 98,3 per cent of Caesars Windsor’s employees supported strike actions if necessary. The union’s Third Vice-President Doug Boughner said that employees would stop work if the deal with the casino management is unsatisfactory.
Negotiations between workers and the casino started in February but so far, the two parties have not reached an agreement. Talks resume Thursday, but workers are not optimistic – in case Unifor Local 444 cannot strike a fair deal for them until their current contract expires, they will walk away from work. Contracts expire on April 4, which means that a new agreement needs to be signed in less than two weeks.
Boughner, who is the trade union’s liaison for the casino workers, said that despite the risk of a labour strike, Unifor Local 444 is, after all, happy with the results of the vote, as it clearly shows that workers support the Unifor’s bargaining committee. He added that the committee does not want a strike, but that affirmative action should be taken.
Negotiations with Caesars Windsor Casino
Talks between the union’s bargaining committee and representatives of Caesars Windsor casino began in February and the two parties have met over non-monetary issues multiple times. The union says that workers earn an average of CA$19 per hour and this includes skilled trade workers. However, the average payment drops to $17 per hour in case skilled trade workers are excluded. According to data, provided by the Windsor-based Unifor Local 444, the union represents approximately 2,300 workers from the casino.
The two sides cannot agree on a number of points, including the wages. The minimum hourly wage in Ontario rose to $14 on January 1, which gives workers hope that the casino would agree to increase salaries. But negotiators are also in discussions regarding pensions, as well as issues in relation to workplace conditions.
Caesars Windsor is one of the most popular casino resorts in the Canadian Province of Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. It can be easily seen from Detroit and it is believed to be one of the major reasons behind the legalization of casino gaming in Detroit. Interestingly, Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, which was constructed several years after the opening of Caesars Windsor, has quite a similar theme to its Canadian rival. Ontario’s Caesars Windsor has two hotel towers, a 5,000-seat arena, and a total gaming area of 100,000 sq ft.