Industry Reports

More Layoffs at Casino Rama, Gateway Casinos Refuses to Disclose Number

Casino Rama has made the headline over the past few days, as Gateway Casinos & Entertainment overseeing operation commenced optimization process and handed layoff notices to 65 individuals.

This week brought the news that the casino operator has continued, this time walking out employees that are not associated with any of the labor unions protecting workers best interest. The overall mood in Rama is solemn.

Casino Rama Resort is the only First Nations commercial casino complex in Ontario with years of operation extending all the way to 1996. It is also the largest one on a provincial level, evident by the constant string of live performance and famous musicians solidifying its image of a family-friendly area.

The management is a rather special multi-level one, as Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation jointly own the resort.

Non-Unionized Workers Walk Out

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment obtained control of the gaming venue after the purchase of the Central Gaming Bundle part of OLG’s field modernization process. Along with Casino Rama, the operator also bagged OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, later on, rebranded as Gateway Casinos Innisfil.

Now a year of Gateway Casinos’ management has passed, allowing the operator to make staff changes and reductions, eventually resulting in the layoff notices. The first individuals to receive notices were 65 full-time casino staff members joined by five part-time ones.

They are all union members of Unifor Local 1090, one of the leading labor unions in Ontario. According to the layoff notices, the 70 individuals would have to make their way out by July 29.

Now it is time for the individuals that are not associated with a labor union, as more people have been affected by the staff reduction. For the time being, the casino operator has not revealed the exact number of individuals receiving the next batch of layoff notices. Full-time job comes with many benefits that people would be deprived of once they have to walk out.

January Saw Contract Renewal

Corey Dalton, President of Unifor Local 1090, stated that Gateway Casinos waited for the opportunity of staff reduction to become legally allowed before they launched the process. For locals, this is yet another example of a large corporation taking the reins of casino operation and stir it in another direction.

It has been previously clarified that the changes are mandated by future investment in new projects in London, Chatham-Kent, North Bay, Kenora, Sudbury, and Wasaga Beach. The beginning of this year was controversial for Casino Rama workers, as they were ready to go on a strike if their contracts are not updated with better conditions.

Some 95 percent of the unionized employees voted in favor of a strike that had the potential to cripple the casino resort. Instead of that, Gateway Casinos and Unifor Local 1090 commenced tough negotiations directly affecting 1,400 individuals. As a result of that, a new tentative agreement was inked covering the following three years of operation and bringing them more benefits and better work conditions.