Terry Green, former president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers Union, joined his BCGEU brothers and sisters on the picket line Saturday at the Penticton Cascades Casino. Mark Brett/Western News

Terry Green, former president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers Union, joined his BCGEU brothers and sisters on the picket line Saturday at the Penticton Cascades Casino. Mark Brett/Western News

Casino and striking workers still at odds

Both sides claim they are willing to continue to negotiate

Gateway Casinos and a union executive are trading barbs as mediation talks for striking casino workers have come to a halt.

Doug Kinna, executive vice president of the BCGEU, alleges that Gateway Casino managers are “poking” striking workers. He claims managers have made statements to those walking the picket lines including that they hope the workers have ‘good winter boots because they will be out there until Christmas’ and that they are happy the workers are on strike because it gives them time to go play golf.

“We want this to end as quickly as possible but we don’t want to accept a low ball deal that is below what other casino workers receive for the same work. How long this lasts is really up to the employer,” said Kinna.

Related: Show of union solidarity on casino picket line

“This is dollars per hour the other casinos are receiving, not cents. We don’t get hung up on cents.”

While Gateway Casinos said the union is out of touch with the marketplace and are “disappointed” after a few days of mediation on the weekend that ended with a full day and half remaining with the mediator when the union walked out. Kinna said the package proposed was significantly below the industry standard and is “insulting.” He added there was some movement on vacation and health benefits but the major issue of wage wasn’t dealt with. Kinna said until that happens there is “nothing more to talk about with the employers.”

Related: B.C. Wine Info Centre feeling the impact of striking casino workers

“We had hoped that mediation this weekend would be more productive, unfortunately these past few days of mediation have resulted in more disappointment,” said Tanya Gabara, director of public relations for Gateway Casinos, in an open letter.

Proposed wage increases of more than 40 per cent, as well as increases in benefits and pensions, have the unionized casino workers and Gateway at a deadlock. In the letter from Gateway, it alleges that proposed wage rates of more than $20 for positions such as cashiers, guest services and restaurant hosts are “simply not reasonable rate increases for any business.”

Negotiations broke off in May and mediated talks have not resulted in any agreements on key monetary issues. Gateway said if the union was serious about bargaining and bringing an end to the strike they would have brought a reasonable package for this size of the community and casino operations in those communities.

“Really, the only thing that has changed is that days and weeks continue to go by while our employees remain on strike. We hear from our employees that they want to return to work and deliver great customer service and provide a great entertainment experience for our customers. The union seems more interested in continuously walking away from eh bargaining table before any real negotiations have occurred.”

Both sides claim they are willing to continue to negotiate should a reasonable proposal be brought forward. At this time, there are no further dates booked for mediation.


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets at Prospera Place in Kelowna (Craft Culture Events/Contributed).
Kelowna’s Prospera Place summer market a success

Craft Culture Events hosts its first of four summer markets and vendors were ‘excited’ to be back

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read