Casino Lac-Leamy and some of its staff members have failed to reach an agreement over salary increases. Now, the 80 security guards and surveillance workers from the property are threatening to go out on a general strike as a way of demonstrating their frustration with the company owner of the casino. It remains unclear whether the situation could be resolved any time soon.
The union representing the workers in question has been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement with the casino which would be suitable to the employees. The previous collective contract expired back in 2018 and it has not been settled yet. At the start of November, the workers have also voted unanimously in favor of a strike.
Negotiations Hit Cul-de-Sac
Negotiation between the union CUPE 3959 and the casino are at a dead end as both sides cannot agree over the proposed salary increase. The proposed number is considered insufficient as it is below the rate of inflation, which continues to rise. The union’s argument is that despite the lockdown restrictions Loto-Québec still managed to bag almost CA$200 million in revenue for Q1 of 2021-2022.
Michel Despatie, president of CUPE 3959 says that the Crown agency is evidently in a place where it can afford to offer a decent salary increase, but the corporation refuses to do so. The situation at the casino will go even further south as the other unions, one representing the general unit and the one for croupiers are currently also renewing collective agreements.
Additionally, the labor union informs that in the coming weeks it will be starting a public campaign to denounce the events at the casino property and it could even lead to the full shut down of the gaming facility. Advisor for the union, Guy Gosselin, explained that the union wants to negotiate but the employer continues to offer lower rates of salary increase, which is unacceptable.
The CUPE labor union represents more than 122,000 members in the province of Quebec, with 3,475 out of them working for government corporations and public agencies. It is active in health and social services, communications, education, universities, energy, municipalities, air and land transport, the mixed sector, and maritime transport. Also, it is known for being the biggest affiliate of the FTQ.
Not a Recent Issue
The dispute between the security employees and Casino Lac-Leamy is not a recent one, and it actually dates back to 2019. The staff members’ argument is that their job should be awarded a bigger salary as it is more demanding since the casino also features a nightclub. Additionally, the workers have also requested better equipment, which will be able to protect them from the more aggressive types of patrons.
Besides the lack of agreement for better wages and conditions, the situation has not been easy on the security workers and the rest of the casino employees as a whole. The property had to close its doors in March 2020, with the occurrence of the unprecedented situation, reopen in the summer, only to close down again in 2020. The gaming facility was able to reopen this summer on June 23, 2021, as all other casinos in Quebec were also allowed to renew operations.
Source: “Potential strike at the Lac Leamy Casino”, Cision, November 17, 2021