Black Press file photo

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

In this July 13, 2020, photo, a black lives matter mural is visible in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which grew out of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement, is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched in February 2021, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing 
coronavirus pandemic. (Andrew Harnik/AP file photo)
After the rally: Kelowna BLM organizers working to launch diversity curriculum

Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira said the work around diversity continues

(CIty of Kelowna)
Kelowna council shoots down Upper Mission subdivision after 8 years of planning

Thomson Flats would have introduced 680 new homes near Kelowna’s southern boundary

Ice rescue on Shannon Lake. Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News.
‘Ice season is over’; West Kelowna crews rescue man from icy lake

A man in his 60’s was pulled from the waters of Shannon Lake after falling through

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has cleared the Lumby RCMP of any wrongdoing after a missing person was found deceased in December 2020. (IIO photo)
Police watchdog says North Okanagan RCMP played no role in missing person’s death

The body was found by a family member shortly after the RCMP suspended their search

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Photos: Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

An off-duty Vernon Taxi driver got a 24-hour licence suspension, vehicle towed, after failing a standardized field sobriety test around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (John E Green - Facebook)
Vernon Taxi towed after driver suspected impaired

Off-duty cab towed from McDonald’s drive-thru early Tuesday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

Most Read