On August 4, 2022, Loto-Québec issued a statement to provide some update on the situation at its Casino Montréal and its protesting gambling workers. The Crown corporation shared that it is unaware of the conflict, as its croupiers already benefit from the best conditions in the gambling sector while also offering them substantial improvements on conditions.
The protests at the Montreal gaming amenity date back to May 21, 2022, when over 500 croupiers walked off the job. This was due to the fact the workers found the Crown corporation’s terms for a new collective agreement insufficient and have even complained about getting physical problems from dealing cards and a lack of adequate breaks.
Willing to Negotiate
In its statement, Loto-Québec commented that it finds difficult to understand the reaction of the Syndicat des croupiers et croupières from Casino Montréal. According to the Crown agency, Montreal croupiers enjoy some of the best benefits and conditions in the casino industry, and that the employer has already offered them improved terms in the new collective agreement.
Most recently, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3939 which represents the workers stated that negotiations between the union and the employer have hit a roadblock. The Crown commented that the comments came as a surprise since the company is willing to discuss a new collective agreement and the union has left the discussions table several times already.
In addition to that, the employer also stated that it is surprised to see the workers reject the proposed terms as unions of other Loto-Québec casinos have accepted similar terms in the last few months. A while back, unionized croupiers of Casino du Lac-Leamy and those of the Casino de Charlevoix both agreed to new a collective agreement.
One of the demands of the croupiers of the Montreal gaming amenity is that they receive 30 minutes paid break for each hour worked. This would mean that they will spend more than 30% of their shift on a paid break. However, the Crown corporation is adamant that it cannot agree to such terms from the perspective of responsible management of public funds and the fact that it is unusual for the industry.
Impact on Gaming Activities
Since walking off the job, croupiers have rallied numerous times at the casino including strikes at Loto-Québec’s head office in Montreal. However, despite the strike, the employer says that work at the gaming property has continued. Gaming tables are up and running and the most popular ones such as blackjack and roulette continue as normal, says the Crown agency.
Activities such as catering, shows, and slot games also resume as normal. The employer shared that the venue still enjoys plenty of interest in its gaming tables, despite them not being at their full potential. It also stated that its other gaming establishments are not affected, and furthermore, the company has enjoyed a very strong start to the year.
Source: “Loto-Québec ready to continue negotiations to reach a responsible agreement”, Loto-Québec, August 4, 2022