Casino workers on the picket lines outside the Cascades Casino in Penticton. Photo: Black Press

Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU schedule talks for July 20-22

As the Gateway casino strike enters its third week, the two sides remain far apart on a new contract.

But there was one positive development today with the confirmation of three more mediation negotiating sessions scheduled for July 20, 21 and 22, according to a Gateway spokesperson.

Tanya Gabara, public affairs director for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., said, “We know a fair and reasonable collective agreement for both our staff and our company is possible and remain committed to these negotiations to reach a deal and get our employees back to work.”

Related: Casino worker money demands called ‘unreasonable’

Gabara said last week the BCGEU union workers are asking for up to 60 per cent wage increases and significant increases in benefits.

“This is clearly in excess of any reasonable rates in this market and simply not competitive,” said Gabara in a news release last week.

Related: Workers push for fairness in wages

As an example, she says the union has proposed that a casino security officer would make 23 per cent more than the starting rate of a trained entry level RCMP officer. For other positions, the union is asking for rates that are comparable to the earnings of trades-people, nurses and school teachers.

Gabara said Gateway proposed wage rate increases between 2.4 and 13 per cent in the first year of the collective agreement in addition to two per cent each year after that.

She noted that Caesars Windsor employees went on strike for two months and achieved essentially the same deal that they rejected in April, while the Rock Casino Coquitlam has been on strike since May 11 with no contract resolution apparent yet.

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