Strike avoided at 6 Ontario casinos as tentative agreement reached; Durham casino workers strike

Strike action has been avoided at six of eight casinos in Ontario owned by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. File

Strike action has been averted at six of eight casinos in Ontario owned by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC). However, workers in Durham are on the picket line Saturday.

In a statement issued to Global News at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, Unifor says most of its members have signed a new tentative agreement. More than 2,000 unionized workers were set to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, impacting staff for table games and slots, security, cashiering, food and beverage, kitchen and culinary, guest services, housekeeping and maintenance.

Signed agreements include the following casinos:

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  • Great Blue Heron Casino in Port Perry
  • Casino Woodbine in Etobicoke
  • Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands in Ganaoque
  • Shorelines Casino Peterborough
  • Elements Casino Mohawk in Milton
  • Elements Casino Brantford

However, the union says workers at Durham Region’s Pickering Casino Resort and Casino Ajax are on strike. Committees continue to negotiate this weekend.

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“Gaming sector workers were pivotal to ensuring GCGC casinos rebounded following the COVID-19 shut-downs,” stated Chris MacDonald, assistant to the Unifor national president. “It has been a very difficult period for casino workers and these tentative agreements are a step in the right direction.”

Unior says details of the tentative agreement will be released following the membership ratification votes to be held during the coming week.

Issues during the week of negotiations included wages, benefits, pensions and attempting to turn more part-time positions into full-time positions.

Local 1090 represents 1,500 employees at the Durham casinos, Great Blue Heron, Casino Woodbine, Shorelines Casino Peterborough and Thousand Islands. Local president Corey Dalton says there remains a gap between the Durham sites and others.

“There is an unacceptable gap in the wages and benefits between workers doing the same job for the same employer an hour down the highway,” he said. “This strike is about fair working conditions across the gaming sector during uncertain economic times.”

The GCGC said “contingency plans” were in place in the event of any job action.

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