Ontario, Canada: Caesars Windsor strike details

June 08, 2018

strike-caresars-casino

Caesars Windsor employees went on a strike on April 6, demanding higher salaries and the improvement of working conditions. Caesars Windsor is a casino located in Ontario, Canada. It is owned by the government through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The company is operated by Caesars Entertainment, an American corporation with over $8 billion annual revenues. It has over six million visitors yearly.

2300 employees that went on a strike named bad working conditions as their main source of discontent. Vice-president of Unifor Local 444, a union representing the employees, commented on the issue saying: “there were workplace issues like workload, and members want a bigger raise than the employer was willing to accept”. Several tentative agreements had been at works but they were voted down by a slight majority of under 60% each time.

After 60 days of negotiations, an agreement was finally reached and the casino continued operating its business. 75% voted in favor of the new agreement allowing the casino to reopen. “Amenities including all restaurants and the box office will resume their regular business hours upon re-opening,” – the company announced after the deal was signed.

According to the agreement, the employee wages will be raised by $1.75 in three years. The raise will happen in three installments, with $0.75, $0.75 and 0.25$ increase at the end of each year. A favorable deal was reached on the bonus system as well. Job security and working conditions, that were protested by the employees, were also reconsidered as a part of the agreement, and several changes were made. No existing foodservice outlets will be closed after the negotiation.

Local 444 organized the vote, transporting employees with shuttles to the voting place and counting the ballots. With 75% voting to accept the agreement, many were relieved that they would finally be able to go back to work.

Caesars Windsor is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the area, so it is not surprising that everyone including the Mayor and owners of surrounding businesses was happy to hear that the casino would continue it business per usual. “We continued to market our tourism assets in the region,” he said. “Of course, it was noticeable to those that had booked meetings, conventions, those who had show tickets. Obviously the longer it went on, the more negative a reaction would come of that. This end to the strike means that messaging will stop” – said the CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Cordon Orr.