Black Press file photo

Open letter from Gateway Casinos takes aim at ‘unreasonable’ demands from union

The letter claims they are offering striking workers more than living wage, union stalling process

An open letter to the communities in the Okanagan from Gateway Casino & Entertainment Limited is disputing the claim made by BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) that the company is not offering a “livable wage” in their ongoing strike negotiations.

Over 600 workers in four Okanagan casinos owned by Gateway – Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna and Lake City Vernon – have been on strike for 13 weeks, demanding increased wages and benefits. The casinos have remained open since the strike started but tensions have remained high on both sides of the picket line.

Related: Okanagan casino workers on their 10th week of strike action

“The union claims that our latest monetary proposal does not meet the ‘living wage’ amounts for these communities. In fact, they do,” states the letter.

The letter goes on to cite LivingWageforFamilies.ca and their definition of living wage as “a regional calculation that looks at the amount that a family of four needs to earn to meet their expenses.” It is noted that this includes rent and groceries but not debt repayment or savings for future plans.

Related: Mediation talks break off in casino strike

The letter explained that with Gateway’s proposed wage increase, entry-level cashiers would receive a 7.5 per cent increase in the first year, averaging an annual compensation of $50,362. This calculation includes tips, which are “a standard part of the compensation for many employees and are paid in grievance resolutions with the union” states the letter.

“This annual compensation is well above the ‘living wage’ in Kamloops of $36,004 per year (17.31 per hour), as

noted by Living Wage for Families Campaign,” states the letter. “Annual compensation includes minimum wages, medical, dental, paid sick time and pension. All of these are included in (our) example.”

The letter also states that at the last round of mediated talks with the union, Gateway Casino proposed a monetary package that included wage increases that would have “every employee receiving an increase from 7 per cent to as much as 19 per cent in the first year alone.”

Related: Despite labour dispute, Cascades Casino Penticton still ‘open for business’

“These wages, in addition to tips of $8 to $12 per hour, benefits and pension would see our employees making well over market rates. Our proposal is also well above other recent settlements in British Columbia both by government and private companies,” states the letter.

The letter goes on to call the union’s demand for wage increases of more than 25 per cent “unreasonable” and says their proposals “remain above the wages of even the largest casinos operating 24/7 in Metro Vancouver.”

“We are very disappointed that we remain at a stalemate without a tentative collective agreement or a path forward. This shows that union leaders from the lower mainland continue to be out of touch with our communities,” states the letter.

The letter also noted that while the workers are on strike, the union leadership “continues to get paid regularly” and that “they are the one who continue to stall the process.”

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

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter

JordynThomson

Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Pedestrian struck on Dillworth Drive

Traffic is backed up on Highway 97 as well as Dillworth Drive

West Kelowna acquires land for Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

The city has acquired 24 acres on Bartley Road

Kelowna council gives green light to cannabis shop rezonings

Seven rezoning applications for cannabis retail stores on council’s agenda Monday

Street signs, light knocked over in crash along Highway 97

Multiple signs and a light were knocked over at the Old Vernon Road interesection

Trailer stolen from Black Mountain, Lake Country business takes a hit

Little Lakes Contracting is asking for the public’s assistance to locate a trailer

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

Most Read