Last Friday Belleville Shorelines Casino staff members have formed a picket line in front of the Ontario-based casino. The workers from the gaming property owned and overseen by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation are not pleased with the recent failure in negotiations between the company and Unifor Local 1090 to agree on an improved wage structure.
On Friday, the two sides failed to reach an agreement in the negotiations for a raise of the workers’ salaries, as the picket lines were formed early on the day. According to some sources, both sides were on schedule to renew negotiations later on the day, in order to resolve the dispute and for the casino to continue normal operations.
Illegal and Unsafe
On Monday, October 25, Vice President of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Chuck Keeling came up with a statement regarding the workers’ protests. According to Mr. Keeling, the strike is understandable, however, he thinks that what happened during the weekend at the casino was illegal. He explained that on Saturday protestors blocked patrons and other staff from entering the parking lot through the main entrance.
Unfortunately, during his media appearance, the Vice President did not get into much detail about how the contract negotiations with Unifor went. In his words, discussions were held for months, however, last Friday, 93 Unifor staff walked off the job. He also described the blockade as “illegal” and “unsafe”. Due to the blockade, staff members had to park at the nearby hotel or even nearby roadways.
Mr. Keeling said that as of Sunday the situation has been slightly eased as now vehicles are allowed to the Belleville gaming property every ten minutes. The Vice President has also informed that due to the protests from a major portion of the staff members, the casino is now operated by its management.
Gaming Allocations Received
Most recently, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has started issuing its quarterly non-tax gaming revenue payments to the municipalities of Ontario. According to the Municipality Contribution Agreements, for the second quarter or the period of July 1 through September 30, 2021, the City of Belleville has received a payment of CA$591,000 for the hosting of Shoreline Casino Belleville.
The decrease in the non-tax gaming allocation can be explained that during a portion of the second quarter the casino was not operational due to the unprecedented situation. In compliance with Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening of the business plan, casinos in the province were allowed to renew operations in the middle of July and operated under limited player and games capacity.
Due to its agreement with the OLG, Belleville receives significant allocations from the Crown agency for the hosting of the casino, which is later used to support local businesses and communities. For the time period between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, the city coffers were able to bag some CA$2.9 million. One of the uses of the revenue was to purchase new police vehicles and specialized aerial ladder and truck chassis for the local fire department.
Source: Strickland, Aryn “Belleville Shorelines Casino workers on strike due to wage negotiations breakdown”, Global News, October 22, 2021