Union Cascades Casino workers in Penticton walking the picket line recently. Tara Bowie/Western News Staff

Okanagan casino workers on their 10th week of strike action

Four more days of negotiations and there is still no deal for the union workers

Gateway Casino said after four more days of negotiations there is still no deal with the union workers.

In an open letter, sent on Sept. 10, Gateway Casino said negotiations with the BCGEU ended after they presented the union with a monetary package that had proposed wage increase that would have every employee receiving an increase from seven per cent to as much as 19 per cent in the first year alone.

“When the union asked us to return to mediation we had hoped this meant the union would come to the table with more reasonable expectations; unfortunately these past few days of mediation have resulted in further disappointment,” Gateway wrote in the letter.

Related: Mediation talks break off in casino strike

The 675 workers from the Gateway Casinos’ four locations in the Thompson Okanagan walked off the job at 3:01 p.m. on June 29, setting up picket lines in front of the Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna and Lake City Vernon casinos after mediation talks broke down. At the time, the union said Gateway refuses to pay its workers what they are worth.

Related: Casino and striking workers still at odds

In the latest package offered, Gateway said employees would make well over market rates, in addition to tips of $8 to $12 per hour. And, that their proposal is well above other recent settlements in B.C. both by government and private companies. They state that after more than five weeks without discussion, the union continues to propose wage increases of more than 24 per cent.

Related: Casino worker money demands called ‘unreasonable’

“If the union was really serious about bargaining and bringing an end to the strike then they would have come prepared with a serious monetary package. A 24 per cent increase in wages in the first year is clearly in excess of any reasonable wage increase and simply not competitive for any business, including ours,” Gateway states in their open letter.

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since the last collective agreement expired in September 2017. Now in their 10th week of strike action, Gateway said it is causing harm not only to the business but the employees.

“Everyone is losing except for the union leadership who continue to get paid regularly, and they are the ones who continue to stall the process,” Gateway wrote in the open letter.

Related: Strikers head to lottery corp offices

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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