Industry Reports

Casino Rama Workers Voice 95-Percent Support for January 24 Strike amid Negotiations

Employees at Casino Rama have been on the verge of a walkout for several weeks now and conversations have been in progress ever since mid-December when the possibility of a strike was first announced. This weekend, however, saw yet another vote on the subject, showing substantial 95-percent support of a strike if conversations between Gateway Casinos and Unifor Local 1090 failed to reach the desired results.

Saturday was dedicated for a vote which aimed to show what part of the workforce at Casino Rama is willing to protest if the negotiations end up being inefficient. The labor union which protects the rights of workers at the gaming venue had set seven votes, providing 820 members with the chance to cast their vote and claim their preparedness for a strike. What they need are significant improvements to their contracts of employment that will make the upcoming years more favorable.

Workers Demand Changes

Corey Dalton is the President of Unifor Local 1090 who was quick to clarify something essential after the vote. He pointed out that casino workers will use a walkout as their last resort once there is no hope left for the negotiation process to accomplish the desired changes. People want to continue working without harming the local economy and gaming revenue of the casino venue. The strike vote is a warning aimed to show they could eventually do it.

The discussions of proposed conditions and amendments to the employment contracts of as many as 1,400 workers are scheduled to recommence this Monday. People currently working at the casino venue expressed their discontent with the work conditions and their wages. It has been pointed out in the past that they are among the lowest ones in the industry. They are also seeking to negotiate better benefits package and pensions which would make their new contracts much more favorable for them.

If the bargaining committee fails in its mission, workers ranging from workers at the dining area of the casino complex, and cashiers, to individuals taking care of the slot devices available on site and dealers are ready to go on a strike at 12:01 a.m. on January 24. The message is clearly aimed to show Gateway Casinos that this situation would change one way or another.

January 24 Could Bring Changes

Monday will see the bargaining recommence on a day-to-day basis, as Mr. Dalton confirmed. A priority at the moment are the non-monetary issues at hand, followed closely by the financial part of the negotiations. Exactly ten days are left until the deadline for negotiations and decision making, meaning that by next Thursday will see the next phase of this negotiation process. It started before the holiday season with several meetings.

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment is the casino developer and operator overseeing the gaming facility. Even though there are many factors involved in the operation of the venue, it is nevertheless a prosperous facility with good performance. The location was purchased by the casino developer as part of the Central Gaming Bundle that amounted to CA$89.3 million.

This portion comprises of Casino Rama, Gateway Innisfil, as well as the permit for casino operation in Wasaga Beach. However, the location itself has several levels involving Casino Rama Inc., Rama First Nation, and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation as leasers and subleasers of the land lot and the casino property, complicating the process of making changes.