Casino News

Judge’s Decision to Deny Gateway Casinos’ Civil Claim Is Victory for All Worker Unions, Says BCGEU

The British Columbia Government Service Employees Union (BCGEU) described the decision of the court to dismiss the authoritative order recently filed by Gateway Casinos against striking casino employees as a victory for all provincial unions.

As revealed by Casino Reports, Gateway Casinos has filed an injunction request to the BC Supreme Court against picketers at Penticton Cascades Casino. The operator’s allegations against that the employees who have gone on strike involve trespassing, harassment and intimidation of both the casino customers and the non-union employees who have not been taking part in the strike.

A couple of days ago, a Supreme Court judge dismissed the above-mentioned application. As previously written by Casino Reports, the civil claim filed in the mid-September, naming the BCGEU, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union Local No.401 (UFCW), as well as a Jane Doe, John Doe and other “persons unknown” as defendants in the case.

The primary evidence which Gateway Casinos relied upon was a written statement confirmed by oath filed by the general manager Michael Magnusson. A number of short video and audio recordings made on the picket line in the period from September 10th to 12th. Despite the fact that the video depicts striking workers walking across the parking lot of the casino and gradually advancing beyond usual or acceptable limits, the judge said there was no blockage on the property.

The casino also blamed picketers for insulting non-union members and casino patrons and demonstrating an intimidating behavior. The judge, however, shared that such conduct is not illegal, despite being impolite and in poor taste. He explained that it was pretty much the sort of verbal exchange which could be expected on a picket line at a time of such a “bitter labor dispute”.

BCGEU Calls for Gateway Casinos to Get Back on Negotiating Table

Back in September, an application was filed by Gateway Casinos in an attempt of stopping the picketers from trespassing the Penticton property and prevent them from getting access to the casino. The hearing of the case took place in Vancouver on September 17th.

Justice Michael Tammen, however, denied the civil claim in a 13-page ruling.

As mentioned above, the BCGEU described the court’s ruling as a big victory for all worker unions in picketing disputes across the territory of British Columbia and comes as a confirmation of the workers’ rights to freely express their beliefs. Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU, urged Gateway Casinos to stop using what she called “cheap PR tactics and frivolous legal tactics” and get back on the negotiating table.

Approximately 675 union workers at Gateway Casinos’ properties in Penticton, Kamloops, Kelowna and Vernon have been on strike since late June. They have been asking for a wage increase and were not satisfied with the offered made by Gateway Casinos. Earlier this year, a company’s spokesman revealed that the Canadian casino and gambling operator offered a wage increase between 2.4% and 13% over the first year and 2% every after that.