Casino News

Gateway Casinos Reaches Tentative Agreement with BCGEU That Could End Okanagan Casinos Workers’ Strike

The four-month strike of the union member workers of Gateway Casinos has been brought to an end. A tentative agreement has been reached between the Canadian gambling operator and the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU), as revealed by the workers’ union in a short e-mail.

A spokesperson for Gateway Casinos also confirmed that the two arguing parties had managed to reach an agreement in the Thompson Okanagan, but refused to make further comments on the situation until BCGEU members’ vote. In case that the union members vote in favor of the tentative agreement, about 700 picketers will return to their workplaces. The Canadian casino and gambling operator explained that it is reviewing the provisional agreement’s terms and is expecting further details about the deal’s ratification to be provided by the worker union.

The President of the BCGEU, Stephanie Smith, used the official Twitter account of the workers’ union to make an announcement for the tentative agreement with Gateway Casinos and praised the union’s bargaining committee for its efforts in the process.

According to the information shared by the casino workers’ union, more information about the agreement are set to be made public in the upcoming week at the hearings set to give workers the chance to ratify the deal or not. The BCGEU further revealed that employees will remain on the picket lines until a final decision on the provisional agreement is made.

Okanagan Casinos Workers Remain on the Picket Line for over Four Months

The strike started on July 1st, when employees at four Okanagan CasinosLace City Vernon, Playtime Kelowna, Cascades Kamloops and Cascades Penticton – left their workplaces and demanded from the gambling operator to increase their wages to match the “living wages” in the region. Approximately 675 casino workers were involved in the strike, which has been going on for more than four months now.

At first, Gateway Casinos said that the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union had made wage-increase demands which it called “unreasonable”. At the time, the gambling operator further revealed that such demands would hold up the process of the two parties coming to a resolution.

The strike of the casino workers at the four Okanagan Casinos started at a time when the casino industry in the province of British Columbia faced the criticism of the local authorities, following the independent report of Mr. Peter German which proved that BC casinos have been used as “laundromats” to wash dirty money of international crime groups and organizations. The beginning of the strike also came at a time when workers at Coquitlam’s Hard Rock Casino had also been on the picket line.

The strike of the Hard Rock Casino’s workers in Coquitlam, however, was brought to an end in late July after a deal was reached by the casino’s owners – the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation – and BCGEU.