Hundreds of casino employees are expected to soon return on their jobs at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam after the employer and the union representing the workers managed to reach a deal.
The agreement between the two parties puts an end to a 10-week strike started on May 11th after more than 400 British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BGGEU) members walked off their jobs following a breakdown in negotiations with the casino owners at the time. The negotiations between the two parties seeking a collective agreement have been going on since January 2017.
Now, the beginning of the week saw an announcement made by the casino workers’ union, with the latter revealing that its members had given the nod to a new agreement with their employer. The president of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, Stephanie Smith, confirmed the news in a press release, congratulating the Hard Rock Casino employees as well as the bargaining committee for the deal.
The casino workers’ union revealed that the main obstacles which stood on the way of an earlier agreement had been related to the employees’ working hours and wages. As reported by Casino Reports earlier, a provisional agreement between the Hard Rock Casino owners and the union workers have been reached towards the end of June, but at the beginning of July, the striking workers decided to vote the tentative agreement down.
First-Ever Collective Agreement Reached
A couple of years ago, the casino workers in British Columbia voted in favor of becoming part of the public-sector employees’ union of the province. Since January 2017, they have been trying the reach an agreement on certain terms with the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC), but until now, their efforts failed.
After being on strike for several weeks, a provisional collective agreement was finally reached between the parties at the end of June, following a mediation process. Shortly after that, however, the union employees who work on casinos’ table games, slots, cashiers, kitchen, etc., decided to vote down on the tentative agreement and go on with their strike until higher wages and better working conditions were agreed on.
Despite the fact that at the time when the provisional agreement was reached the president of the BCGEU Stephanie Smith described it as a solid first deal, it turned out not to be good enough for the striking workers. At the time when that happened, the 15 months of negotiations were not enough for the parties to iron out their differences on a number of major issues associated with wages, working hours and other working conditions.
The mediation process was given a start following a 6-week period over which the 400 casino workers had been on strike without receiving their money cheques. The deal reached between the owners of the Hard Rock Casino and the union workers is the first-ever collective agreement reached between these parties.