Industry Reports

COVID-19 Harms Winnipeg Casino Workers, Layoffs Projected

Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union raised the awareness of one of the first negative impacts of the novel coronavirus on the province. Workers protected by the labor union have been told this week that the situation calls for some changes and they would receive a payment covering only their work until the end of March. Temporary layoffs would be implemented at the beginning of April.

The novel coronavirus has taken its toll on all Canadian provinces and this does not affect the people contracting the virus solely. It also has an effect on various industries across the provinces, the hospitality one seeking the biggest impact so far. Gambling facilities are often adjacent to the hotel towers and they have also experienced the negative impact of closures.

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries with Controversial Move

Manitoba is one of the provinces that recently announced the closure of three casino venues being the place of work for many locals. Winnipeg casino venue workers learned concerning news recently and they were quick to refer to the labor union protecting their rights. The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries President Manny Atwal addressed the current situation in a letter informing them of the changes laying ahead.

He pointed out that the workers would receive the payment they are eligible for until March 31. This applies to both full-time and part-time employees of McPhillips Station Casino, Club Regent Casino, as well as the Shark Club Gaming Centre in Winnipeg. Once the month is over, workers have been advised to use their mandatory leave days and exhaust them possibly within the month of April.

Such a measure would alleviate the burden of the lottery corporation overseeing the three gaming venues while they are shut down. Once the leave has been exhausted, Mr. Atwal pointed out that temporary layoffs would have to take place. They are projected to come into effect on April 1. The labor union protecting more than 260 casino workers seeks their protection.

Casino Staff Affected

The pandemic outbreak pulled the brakes of the gambling industry in Manitoba bringing with itself a negative impact on the people associated with it. The aforementioned 260 individuals unionized with the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union range from casino floor staff, to employees in the restaurant areas such as cooks and servers.

They would all be affected to some extent from the temporary layoffs. Michelle Gawronsky is the President of the labor union seeking to protect their interest. This is the reason why she addressed the issue to the government seeking help. March 18 saw the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announce that the government is about to spend some CA$27 billion on direct financial aid, as well as some CA$55 billion on tax deferrals.

The package is going to battle the negative impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy and the people affected by it. The labor union seeks support on a provincial level, which could be possible through redeployment of some of the casino workers. Earlier this week, the casino locations in Winnipeg were simply implementing fortified hygiene policies but later on they were closed.