Over the weekend, staff members of Casino Montréal have decided to demonstrate their dissatisfaction over the course of the current contract negotiations. On Saturday, May 14, 2022, a group of dealers from the casino went out on a surprise four-hour strike to demonstrate their discontent over the currently proposed terms by the property’s regulator, Loto-Québec.
Casino Montréal, like any other gaming amenity in the province or the country, has been largely impacted by the occurrence of the unprecedented situation in March 2020. Since then, the casino was shut down for a big period of time, thus affecting not only its operations but its staff members too, as many of them were laid off. But now it is up and running again.
A Four-Hour Boycott
On Saturday, May 14, 2022, the dealers from Casino Montréal went out on an unexpected strike to the surprise of the property’s management. This move was in order to show their support for the bargaining committee, which is currently at an impasse in its discussions with the Crown corporation over the new collective agreement. The strike started at 4 p.m. and continued to 8 p.m.
During the strike, the Crown agency informed that work at the Montréal gaming facility was not affected as gaming tables continued to function. The only sector that was affected by the boycott was the poker room, which stopped operations for four hours. Currently, the two negotiating sides cannot agree on several items, including wagers, hours, and work organization.
The previous collective agreement, that regulates working conditions for the 521 dealers at the casino, run down the line on March 31, 2020. And recently, the Canadian Union of Public Employees revealed that the negotiations reached a dead-end from May 7, 2022, and May 8, 2022. The Crown corporation shared that it wants to continue discussions with the union within parameters that are similar to ones in other casinos.
At the end of 2021, Quebec shut down all casino properties in the province due to rising concerns about health and safety indicators. This included Casino Montréal. Back then, CUPE union representative Jean-Pierre Proulx, the property reopened with hundreds of hidden layoffs. And this is a breach of the collective agreement that is currently in motion. The situation was denounced by croupiers, who have requested government interference.
Then in March this year, there were more developments on the matter as staff members were not content with the fact that the employer is refusing to recall all of their colleagues. The union then revealed that the dealers have voted 97.4% in favor of pressure tactics against the Crown agency, including going out on a strike so their demands can be heard.
Mr. Proulx claimed that the union has already lost more than enough workers. He described the situation as “particularly terrible”, as even if the Montreal casino recalled all of the dealers, then only 60% of the table would be functional. He also suggested that if the property does not return to its full slate of operations, then it may lose some of its regulars.
Source: “Casino de Montreal dealers launch surprise 4-hour strike”, CTV News Montreal, May 15, 2022