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

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra returns with winter concert

The performance will include a tribute to Amanda Todd

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

Engineering One Design competition showcase to feature life-saving projects

UBC Okanagan engineering students were tasked with designing a safer donation bin

Canada Post strikes continue in Kelowna

CUPW workers are in negotiation according to Canada Post

Kelowna lotto winner: ‘You never think it’s going to be you’

Kelowna’s Nick Pisio is now one million dollars richer after lotto win.

VIDEO: Two officers of B.C. Legislature escorted out amid investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Okanagan dog back in owner’s arms after 18 days on the run after car accident

Penny the senior boxer is back home and doing well after missing for 18 days following car accident

Racists graffiti on Kamloops bathroom walls

Police search for suspect wanted for writing racist graffiti

Festival lights up the Okanagan

Hanukkah celebrations planned for Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, Peachland, Penticton and Oliver

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Hergott: Remembering road traffic victims

The seventh annual commemorative event will be held Wednesday evening, Nov. 21

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

Most Read