Casino News

Durham Casino Employees Prepare for a Strike

Employees of three Durham casinos are not quite satisfied with their employer, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Recently, unionized staff members of three of the company’s properties, have expressed their discontent over the lack of a new collective agreement. They plan to go on strike, if an agreement is not found before Friday, July 22, 2022.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is one of the largest casino companies in Canada, and it operates more than 20 gaming properties across the country. Its three properties in Durham are Great Blue Heron Casino, Casino Ajax, and Pickering Casino Resort. And unionized members of the three venues are currently represented by Unifor who are still negotiating with the employer.

Time is Running Out

Currently, ten of Unifor’s bargaining teams are in discussion with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation over a new collective contract. This also includes the one who represents thousands of workers from the three Durham casinos. On Tuesday, Rob Bicknell, a trustee with Unifor Local 1090, said that the union is in active negotiations and that discussions are not at a standstill.

Mr. Bicknell, who is also union chair of the Scugog Island casino said that the union is optimistic that an agreement can be found before the Friday deadline. He also indicated that neither of the sides wants to escalate to a stoppage of work. According to him, Unifor Local 1090 has unionized 226 employees at Great Blue Heron Casino and over 800 at Casino Ajax and Pickering Casino Resort.

The union said that it is putting wages, benefits, and pensions on the top of its bargaining list. This applies to its table games, slots, security, cashiering, food and beverage, kitchen and culinary, guest services, housekeeping and maintenance. It also looking to increase the number of stable jobs by converting part-time or casual positions into full-time jobs.

In an email response, a representative of the gaming conglomerate, Chuck Keeling, shared that the company continues to discuss terms with members of the union. He also noted that the gaming leader remains committed to reaching an agreement, which would award team members of the company with fair and attractive wages, as well as great benefits and career opportunities.

Other Ontario casino employees that work for properties that are operated by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation are also willing to demonstrate against the employer. This includes unionized staff members of Casino Woodbine, Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands, Shorelines Casino Peterborough, Elements Casino Brantford, and Elements Casino Mohawk. Now, it remains to be seen whether an agreement can be found.

New Contract for Caesars Windsor Casino Staff

In March, Unifor Local 444 managed to successfully negotiate a new collective agreement for its unionized members at Caesars Windsor Casino. The new contract awards staff with wage increase over the next three years. In the first year, their wages will increase by CA$0.50, then in the second year by CA$0.75, and again by CA$0.50 in the third year.

Source: Hall, Chris “Durham casinos’ unionized workers set to strike by weekend”, The Star, July 20, 2022