The latest news coming from Cape Breton’s Casino Nova Scotia Sydney is that staff of the property have formed a picket line for the Cape Breton Eagles game on Thursday. The security workers are unhappy with their employer – Great Canadian Gaming Corporation and are hopeful that the protest will be able to influence the operator for them to return to work.
Protestors claim that when the casino shut down operations at the start of the unprecedented situation in early 2020, they were laid off without notice or information as to when they can get back to work. However, once the sector started to recover, they were not recalled, while some of their coworkers returned to work and the company even signed some fresh faces.
Taking Drastic Measures
Despite not being officially represented, the 11 workers are assisted by the United Food and Commercial Workers union. Atlantic Director of the organization, Mark Dobson, commented that the union is trying to help the staff in their attempt to get back their jobs. He described the employer as a bully which can get away with anything untill he is pushed to change ways.
In a handout, the security members state that the employer kept them in the dark for over two years, while also reassuring them that they will be able to return to work. Also, the 11 claim that in December 2021, the operator suspended their medical benefits, which created some major difficulties for them and their families.
Additionally, Mr. Dobson noted that the status of the workers continues to fluctuate, as they have been prohibited from accessing their personal lockers, but they are able to eat at the casino restaurant and get employee discounts. He said that the situation is confusing since if the relationship is over there are measures and processes that should be followed.
The company responded via, Executive VP, stakeholder engagement and community and social responsibility, Chuck Keeling. He said that the operator regrets that due to the circumstances some of the furloughed team members at the Sydney Casino not being able to return to work. He also shared that the company is trying to arrange a severance agreement with their lawyers.
First Unionized Staff
In the summer of 2022, a group of workers from Casino Nova Scotia Sydney became the first ones to be unionized at the property. They are not represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 2. The staff joined Casino Nova Scotia Halifax’s team as the only casino workers that are represented by a union in Atlantic Canada.
Overall, it has been two wild years for Cape Breton’s casino property, as it went through two closures and two reopenings. It should be noted that the casino has managed to remain open since June 2021. However, it recommenced work under limited capacity and strict health protocols. Luckily those are now gone and the property is back to its normal ways of operation.
Source: Macinnis, Steve “Cape Breton casino workers to hold information picket” SaltWire, November 24, 2022