Casino Rama Resort might reopen in the upcoming months but employees have their own concerns ahead of the official reopening. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment wants to end the employee benefits payment at the end of June. Unifor Local 1090 seeks protection for the unionized individuals part of the structure and the next step would be a grievance for a violation of the Employment Standards Act against the casino operator.
Ontario casino locations have remained closed for the past three months and this closure has taken its toll on both the province and the casino operator overseeing the location. Workers have also struggled over the past weeks, as their benefit payments could come to an end. Unifor Local 1090 is the labor union representing some of them.
Negotiation in Progress
Corey Dalton, President of the labor union, recently made it clear that over the past few weeks they have been in negotiations with the casino management. Casino staff members want to see benefit payments extended past the end of June. Right now, Gateway Casinos intends to put an end to those payments on June 30. Unifor Local 1090 had another idea of how the situation could be improved.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is the solution Unifor proposed, as Gateway Casinos has the freedom to explore the various opportunities coming with it. The proposed solution was aiming to improve the situation for many of the unionized workers, upgrading the currently used Canada Emergency Response Benefit program. However, the casino operator had some conditions expressed earlier in the negotiation conversation.
Gateway Casinos representatives participating in the talks made it clear that the employees would have to pay the cost of benefits in their entirety if they want an approval of the wage subsidy along with an extension of the benefit payments beyond June 30. The seven weeks of conversation led to this conclusion. Moreover, the casino operator also stated that the union would have to agree to 15 concessions.
The casino operator overseeing Casino Rama also pointed out that the cafeteria has to be closed in this case. The existing workers shuttle to and fro the casino resort also has to be stopped, according to the casino management, as this would facilitate the union work down the road. The concessions in question are worrying for the labor union, as they span over the entirety of the casino development.
For example, Gateway Casinos is seeking the uniting of some existing positions, as well as the cancelation of all bargained rights when it comes to the dealers’ everyday work. Mr. Dalton stated that these proposed conditions aim to reduce the staff team available on the premises of the casino resort. The costs associated with this would also be reduced in this case.
In response to the recent conversations, Unifor Local 1019 has filed a grievance for a violation of the Employment Standards Act. The process would have to be optimized, as quick solution is sought. Projections right now are that the legal ruling could take up to six weeks to be issued. Mr. Dalton pointed out that rival casino operators expand their operation while Gateway Casinos seeks ways to reduce staff.