Casino Woodbine has locked out nearly 1,000 of its employees, several days after they voted in favour of rejecting the latest contract offer. The staff is presented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada and they were locked out at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 8, 2023. Due to this fact, the unionized staff has now formed a picket line in front of the gaming property.
Located at 555 Rexdale Blvd, Etobicoke, ON M9W 5L1, Casino Woodbine offers more than 3000 slot machines and virtual gaming tables for baccarat, roulette, blackjack, sic bo and more. It is owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Great Canadian Entertainment, Brookfield Business Partners LP and One Toronto Gaming.
Employer Leaves the Negotiation Table
Workers were locked out after the rejected latest terms offered by One Toronto Gaming last week. Theo Lagakos, who is the local President for PSAC DCL 533 Casino Woodbine that one of the main reasons for the lack of agreement from concerns over part-time workers’ rights. He explained the union had 945 members at the property filling a number of jobs including dealers, cleaning staff, and cashiers.
Furthermore, Mr. Lagakos said that 50% of the workforce at the casino was part-time and for quite a while, workers have sought to have at least three days, three shifts per week, as a way of maintaining a standard of living. However, he said that the employer was not budging. He claimed the employer does not guarantee any hours of work, which is problematic for the people.
Currently, it is not known how much the lockout has impacted the casino’s operations. But Mr. Lagakos said talks will continue depending on the employer as it was the company that decided to lock out staff. He added that the union will have to wait for the employer to change its mind and come to the negotiating table so they can resume talks and potentially find an agreement.
This is not the first time that workers from the casino have gone out on strike. In the summer of 2022, staff represented by Unifor Local 1090 and Great Canadian Entertainment failed to reach an agreement on a new collective contract. This led to the forming of picket lines which obstructed access to the gaming amenity at all six of its entrances.
OPP Investigation and Arrests
Recently, Casino Woodbine was also involved in a controversy as Ontario Provincial Police arrested individuals who colluded with a table games dealer. OPP said that five people were detained for allegedly colluding with a table games dealer working at Woodbine Casino. The gambling employee in question was 52-year-old Arthur Segovia, who resides in Etobicoke.
He has been charged with criminal breach of trust, cheat at play, theft over CA$5,000 and fraud over CA$5,000. In addition to that, authorities shared that all five of the perpetrators have now been released from custody and now await to appear in court in the near future. Meanwhile, the investigation is still open.
Source: Fox, Chris “Workers picket outside Casino Woodbine after being locked out by their employer” CTV News Toronto, May 8, 2023