Casino News

Caesars Windsor Announces More Show Cancellations amid Strike

The 25 May show by rapper Pitbull at Caesars Windsor has been postponed as the labour strike at the casino resort enters its second month. In a statement on its website, the resort announced that hotel reservations for the rest of May have been cancelled, while several shows at the Colosseum have been postponed due to the labour disruption.

The hotel and casino resort at Windsor, Ontario, has been closed for over a month since workers announced a strike on April 6. They rejected a tentative agreement that had been previously negotiated between the casino and a bargaining team from the labour union Unifor Local 444. The union represents around 2,300 Caesars Windsor employees, including casino dealers, cooks, servers, guest room attendants, and more. After workers walked off the job last month, the resort has shut down operations, cancelling all hotel bookings and all shows at the 5,000-seated theatre, the Colosseum.

According to the latest announcement on Caesars Windsor website, all hotel reservations booked through May 31 have been cancelled. All concerts for the remainder of May have been postponed, including Pitbull (May 25), Lee Brice (May 26), and Daniel O’Donnell (May 27). The shows would be rescheduled on dates that are yet to be determined. Room reservations beyond May 31 will remain booked and all shows in June will remain scheduled on their original dates until further notice. In a statement, Kevin Laforet, Caesars Entertainment Regional President, says that customers should receive an advance notice to make alternate plans.

This is the third time the casino has announced cancellations and it has not been easy, Laforet admits. At the same time, communication between the resort and its employees have been extremely difficult, too, especially after workers hit the picket line at the beginning of April. Negotiations over the new collective agreement between Caesars Windsor and its employees started back in February, but the two sides have not been able to reach a deal ever since. According to workers’ representatives from Unifor Local 444, the casino simply does not want to return to the bargaining table and forces people to resume work by “starving them out”. Caesars Windsor did not comment.

No Sign of a Resolution Any Time Soon

This is not the first time Caesars Windsor workers announce strike action and shut down the resort. Last time, in the spring of 2004, the hotel and the casino remained closed for six weeks. So far, the two sides show no signs of willingness to reach a resolution to the problem any time soon. Since talks broke off April 18, casino officials and the union have not come to the bargaining table. Whether the strike would continue much longer remains to be seen, but it would certainly have a financial impact on the casino at least in the short term.

If Caesars Windsor does not open by the end of the month, the negative effect on revenues would be even more significant. Since this is the largest casino resort of this kind in Ontario and certainly one of the largest employers in Windsor, there would also be consequences for the local tourism and economy. On April 18, the casino rejected a proposal by Unifor’s bargaining team but did not come up with an alternative. The major issue on which the two sides cannot find a common ground is, of course, the payment. Previously, the casino offered over 11 per cent improvement of wages and benefits over a three-year period. It was proposed that the average hourly wage would be raised from $18.67 to $20.62, but workers did not find the figures satisfying.