Industry Reports

Caesars Windsor Casino Cancels April’s Reservations and Shows as Strike Continues

Caesars Windsor, one of the four major casinos in the Detroit – Windsor area, has cancelled all reservations and postponed shows and conventions for the rest of April due to the strike announced Friday. The casino resort is now temporarily shut down after workers rejected the new three-year collective agreement on Thursday.

Last week, Caesars Windsor announced that after two months of talks, they had reached an agreement with Unifor Local 444, the labour union that represents around 2,300 casino employees. The two parties were negotiating the terms of a new collective contract after the old agreement expired. While the casino and Unifor’s bargaining team reached a deal, that deal had to be ratified by employees in a vote on Thursday. According to the Windsor Star, around 1,900 workers took part in the ballot and with a 59 percent majority, they rejected the new agreement.

The union invited representatives of the resort for new talks, but there was no response, Unifor said on Friday. This led to almost immediate strike action that started 12:01 a.m. on Friday and temporarily closed the casino resort. Not only hotel reservations were cancelled until April 12, but all hotel guests were also required to check out by 11:00 a.m. Gaming operations were shut down and all events, including a concert by country star Johnny Reid, were cancelled. Unifor said Sunday that Caesars Windsor had no intention to return to the bargaining table.

This changed Monday after the casino management said it is open to negotiations and now the union’s bargaining team is once again putting together all demands and issues raised by workers. Meanwhile, hotel guests have been displaced, shows have been postponed, and one of Ontario’s major casinos is closed until further notice.

All Events Canceled for the Rest of April

After strike action was declared Thursday midnight, people on the picket line have said they wanted better working conditions, increased wages and benefits. According to local media news, the proposed contract included CA$1,150 signing bonuses for full-time employees, $900 for part-time workers, and another $500 for casual employees. In addition, the new terms stipulated immediate pay rise of 75 cents per hour, which would be followed with several other increases – addition 50 cents in April 2019 and another 50 cents in April 2020. The new collective contract also provided a 1 per cent increase in pensions.

As the strike at Caesars Windsor continues, all events have been cancelled or postponed for the rest of April. Casino representatives said on Monday that they are cancelling all hotel reservations for April and postponing all concerts and conventions. Kevin Laforet, Regional President at Caesars Entertainment, said that the casino resort management prefers to postpone all events so that guests can be warned in advance and make alternative plans. All those who booked a room for April would be contacted by email or phone call, while for now, reservations beyond May 1 would remain booked until further notice.

The rescheduled events include three Colosseum shows by Buddy Guy, David Foster, and Terry Fator. As no agreement has been reached, events scheduled for the next month may also be at risk. The legendary Brian Wilson of Beach Boys is expected to perform at the Colosseum on May 4, while on May 17, the venue will host Darcy Oake’s magic show. On May 25, Caesars Windsor will present Grammy-Award winner Pitbull. The programme at the Colosseum continues with country music singer Lee Brice and Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell who will hit the stage on Saturday and Sunday.