Industry Reports

Union Goes to War against Casinos Regina & Moose Jaw Layoffs Plans

The novel coronavirus appears to keep an even tighter hold on the Canadian gaming industry, as time progresses. Casinos Regina & Moose Jaw management is about to lay off about 600 individuals associated with the casino floor operation come April 3. This week brought the news announced by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the labor union protecting their rights before their employer.

The dynamically changing situation across Saskatchewan is the reason why the gaming hotspots had to close for business. Protecting the health of both casino workers and casino patrons is essential for the industry and the casinos management. As of March 26, the province has reported nine new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, ultimately increasing their overall number to 95 individuals.

Saskatchewan Gaming Industry

This is one of the provinces with a relatively lower number of individuals contracting the highly contagious virus. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, about 6,915 individual shave been tested for the novel coronavirus and the majority of those tests have turned out to be negative. Seeking protection for both casino workers and patrons, March 16 saw the announcement coming from Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation.

Casinos Regina & Moose Jaw closed indefinitely and the gaming corporation refused to pinpoint a specific date for its reopening. Workers calling the locations their workplace faced uncertain times of social distancing in an attempt for the province to flatten the curve of the outspread. Now it has become clear that the workers associated with the gaming hotspot are facing temporary layoffs come April 3.

The decision is expected to affect 549 unionized workers, as well as 42 non-unionized individuals. The 600 staff members have all been ensured, that the casinos’ management takes this temporary measure now, but all of them would return to their daily tasks once life has returned to its ordinary pace and organization. Essential positions across Casinos Regina & Moose Jaw would continue their daily operation past April 3.

Public Service Alliance of Canada Seeks Justice

Another topic of discussion were the benefits the employees are eligible for during the layoffs. Public Service Alliance of Canada made it clear that the casino management is about to pay those benefits during the entire period of the layoff. However, the situation appears to leave something to be desired. The labor union pointed out that the layoff decision has been made by the casino management, instead of the Crown corporation overseeing the field.

In response to this, the labor union protecting casino workers is about to file a policy grievance in relation to the layoff planned at the beginning of April. The provincial government has not issued the directive. PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President Marianne Hladun made it clear that she has already contacted SLGA minister’s office, as well as other officials that could prevent the layoffs from happening.

In the meantime, tribal casino locations in Saskatchewan also remain closed for business. Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority made an announcement that its tribal venues would remain closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those are Painted Hand Casino Yorkton, Living Sky Casino Swift Current, Northern Lights Casino Prince Albert, Dakota Dunes Casino south of Saskatoon, Gold Eagle Casino North Battleford, Gold Horse Casino Lloydminster, as well as Bear Claw Casino and Hotel north of Carlyle.