Cascades Casino staff in Penticton setting up tables prior to the grand opening in 2017. Kristi Patton/Western News

Gateway Casinos ‘frustrated and disappointed’ about strike vote

Cascades Casino Penticton laid out what they believe is at stake should employees go on strike

In an open letter, Cascades Casino Penticton laid out what they believe is at stake should employees go on strike.

“We are very frustrated and disappointed that the union has taken a strike vote. The fact is we have made extensive efforts to meet with the union to get a deal for our employees for many months now,” it states in the letter.

On Monday, union workers from several B.C. casinos gathered outside the B.C. Lottery Corporation office in Vancouver for a rally and then delivered hundreds of petition cards signed by casino workers to the BCLC. More than 675 members of the BCGEU employed at Gateway Casinos in Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Penticton voted 93.1 per cent in favour of strike action.

Related: Casino workers petition BCLC for fairness

“Casino workers from across the province have had enough,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “We are appealing to BCLC to help ensure fairness across the gaming industry.”

Cascades Casino Penticton said the union (who represents thousands of workers in the province that are employed to run table games, as slot attendants, cashers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services, theatres and maintenance) refused to meet with them until early in 2018 and after “several days of bargaining they walked away from the table after proposing a shocking 62 per cent average increase in wages with some positions increasing over 80 per cent, on top of significant increases to benefits.” Negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off in May.

Related: Gateway casino workers ready to strike

Casino workers state that gaming in B.C. suffers from poor management, disrespectful workplace atmosphere, low public perception and confidence, exploitative working conditions among other issues.

The letter states that Smith has claimed the casino service providers are making billions of dollars and that statement is false and that 88 cents of every dollar played in B.C. goes back into the province and funds services like health care and education. Gateway Casinos said they have invested in over $70 million and created more than 400 new jobs across the Thompson-Okanagan.

Gateway said they are also an active corporate citizen, providing meals to those affected by wildfires and fire relief efforts through GatewayGives — their community and charitable program.

“We know that a strike will be harmful to our employees and our customers — therefore, Gateway is serious about getting an agreement and have applied for mediation and we are hopeful that the union comes to mediation on June 15 with more reasonable expectations so that a resolution can be achieved,” it states in the letter.

Gateway also stated they are committed to remaining open regardless of the strike outcome.


Kristi Patton | Editor

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