The initial friction at the start of the month between Chances Casino Abbotsford management and its workers about the proposed collective agreement has been put to bed. After the previous refusal to sign the new contracts Members of the United Steelworkers union have now ratified the newly proposed and improved contract offered by Playtime Gaming.
On June 14, 2021, the company issued a lockout notice to its personnel to which they did not agree to sign, as it would have reduced benefits and offer them almost minimum wages. This has led to some tension among workers as they have been unable to return to their positions for more than a year as B.C. casino properties remain closed since March 2020.
Terms Now Agreed
In a recent press release, President of USW Local 2009, Al Bieksa, stated that the bargaining committee has put major effort into making the company reconsider its concessionary wage and benefit offers. The president of the union also shared that after two days of protesting and due to the major support from the membership, the union managed to agree to new terms with the gaming corporation.
The collective agreement now offers an 8% increase in wages for the staff members in the next three years of the contract. Ginette Talbo-Hoogeveen, USW Staff Representative, stated that the company has received a massive financial injection from the federal government under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, which secured loans for corporations with revenue above CA$300 million.
Ms. Talbo-Hoogeveen explained that union workers have had suffered enough during the last 15 months of lockdown and no work. She concluded her statement by saying that she is extremely happy with the improved contract and that the members did not concede to the company’s bullying shenanigans, and stood together when they were locked out.
Annual Charity Events
Despite the controversial contract situation, Chances Casino Abbotsford brings plenty of positives to the area. Every year the casino property organizes many charitable events in order to gather financing for local groups and communities in need. Every July the facility hosts its traditional food bank event, which in 2019 exceeded expectations in its effort to help out the local Archway Food Bank.
In 2019, the event took place on Canada Day, and everyone was welcome to enjoy a free pancake breakfast. Participants had to contribute by bringing a non-perishable item and donate it to the initiative. The feast stretched to the evening, as the property’s Red 21 Tap + Grill provided delicious barbeque to the crowd. For the price of just CA$6, everyone got a hot dog or a burger, in addition to chips and a cold drink.
British Columbia is finally close to reopening its gaming facilities after almost 15 months of no in-person gambling. This is possible after the local government announced its new economic recovery plan at the end of many. According to which, gaming properties and nightclubs will be allowed to relaunch operation and welcome patrons back as early as July 1.
Source: Lypka, Ben “Employees hit the picket line earlier this month, but agreement was reached after two days”, The Abbotsford News, June 25, 2021