A provisional collective agreement has been reached between workers of the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam and their employer, following a mediation process after several weeks into a strike. The two parties reached a compromise more than 15 months after negotiations had been given a start.
The casino workers who voted to become part of the public-sector employees’ union of the province of British Columbia a couple of years ago have been trying to agree on some terms with the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation since January 2017. Now, in case that the union gives the nod to the deal and ratifies it, it will be the first-ever collective agreement between the two parties.
The president of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), Stephanie Smith, described the provisional agreement as a solid first deal. In an interview for a local media at the beginning of the week, Ms. Smith explained that the committee engaged in the negotiation process was pleased with the provisional deal. According to her, this is a pioneering agreement which could actually set a standard for casino employees on the territory of British Columbia.
The general manager of the Hard Rock Casino, Jimmy Ho, also explained that the company was satisfied with the tentative deal and shared his hope that the members’ union would give it the green light. As reported by The Star Vancouver, he refused to make further comments on the matter until the union members vote on the agreement.
Provisional Agreement Reached after More than 15 Months of Negotiations
As previously revealed by Casino Reports, the mediation between the two parties was given a start after 400 casino employees had been on strike without pay for six weeks. In the mid-May, it became clear that Hard Rock Casino Vancouver remains open despite its workers’ strike with management staff.
Earlier this month, the tension around the labor dispute between the casino owners and the workers escalated earlier in June, when the workers’ union called on the provincial lottery regulatory body to intervene and persuade the Hard Rock Casino owners to get back to the negotiations table. As revealed by Ms. Smith, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) refused to intervene but, still, sent a letter to the workers’ union and acknowledged its petitions.
The union’s members at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver decided to walk off their jobs and go on strike on May 11th, leaving the gambling facility understaffed but still operational.
The strike was given a start following the rejection of the employees represented by the BCGEU to take a collective agreement offered by the Casino owners. The negotiations over the new contracts have been on the table for more than 15 months, but so far no deal has been reached, with the 400 workers having rejected a number of “reasonable” proposals according to the workers’ union.