Last Friday, unionized casino workers of Gateway Casinos decided to ratify a new contract with their employer, which put an end to an almost 5-month strike. As a result of the decision, nearly 700 employees at the Gateway Casinos’ venues in Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops Vernon were to get back to work in the weekend after 19 weeks spent on the picket lines.
As revealed by BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU), the four-year deal includes improved benefits scheme for the workers, as well as a wage increase of an average of 23.5% for the entire duration of the contract.
The beginning of the month saw the parties reach a tentative agreement, but in order for the preliminary contract to be enacted, the BCGEU members who were employed by Gateway Casinos needed to vote “yes” in order for the deal to be finalized. At the time when the provisional agreement was revealed, the BC worker union that has been defending the interests of the casino workers explained that employees would remain on the picket lines until the final decision is made.
After the Gateway Casinos’ workers ratified the agreement, the Canadian gaming and entertainment operators shared in an e-mail to Global News that an “immediate wage increases for every employee” is included in the new collective agreement, as well as a “robust compensation package” over the terms of the agreement plus some “non-monetary benefits” for the workers.
New Contract Ratification Passes with Close Vote
The president of the BCGEU, Stephanie Smith, brought more light to the matter, saying that the ratification vote was close, so there is obviously more work to be done in all four casinos of the gambling operator, including Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton, Playtime Casino in Kelowna and Vernon-based Lake City Casino.
The vote was really close, with 259 for and 252 against the agreement with Gateway Casinos. Tanya Gabara, a spokesperson for the gambling operators also praised the bargaining committees which, according to her, did a great job by making sure that the new contract was designed in a way that would guarantee fair rewards to the employees and at the same time the terms they agreed on were also reasonable for the businesses which Gateway Casinos operate in local communities.
The strike kicked off in the summer when workers at the four above-mentioned casinos walked off their jobs. A lot of the casinos’ employees claimed that they have not received fair and reasonable rewards for their jobs, so they promised to remain on the picket line until the matter is resolved. However, at first Gateway Casinos said that the demands made by the BCGEU were “unreasonable”, so it was the lack of understanding on this matter which pulled back the process of negotiation. Now, all of them have returned to their workplaces and the work of the venues has been back to normal again.