The casino’s employees have been negotiating a new contract for weeks, and have now voted to go on strike. The company is working on contingency plans in case of the labor dispute, but spokespeople say that there will be no disruption in customers’ gaming experience.
Caesars Windsor Casino employees suggested this week in an online meeting that they may go on strike as a pressure tactic during negotiations for a new contract. The casino’s management and Unifor Local 444 began negotiating last month, and the majority of the employees voted 94 percent in support of a strike this week.
Unifor Local 444 now represents over 2,200 employees at the casino, with around half of them still on layoff owing to health and safety concerns. After an extraordinary scenario arose in March 2020, many of those individuals were unable to return to work at all, and the casino was forced to lock its doors for a while.
Prepared to Protest
The unusual circumstances and the protracted shutdown of Caesars Windsor Casino have taken their toll on the employees, according to Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444. He also wants the provincial and federal governments to provide more assistance to workers who are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. Employees who have been out of job for two years, according to him.
He said that the union would aim to concentrate on pay, benefits, and job security at this point of the discussions. He stated that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, which owns the property, has had a difficult two years, but that they still have the money to pay for the upgraded contracts, according to him.
Mr. Cassidy said that the union is not asking for a significant rise in terms, but rather to advance with their membership. It’s about coming in with the correct agreement and ensuring that unionized workers have job security in the future, according to him, and this is one of the primary issues of debate.
When the issue first began in February, a spokesman for the gaming facility said that the unique scenario had cost the business tens of millions of Canadian dollars in damages. The present contract will expire in less than two weeks, on April 1, 2022, and the previous agreement was reached in 2018, after a 61-day strike.
Reopen the door.
Caesars Casino Windsor has had a difficult start to the year, as the provincial government announced on January 5, 2022 that it would close a number of businesses, including casinos. This was done in response to the virus’s new variant. The province’s casinos were then permitted to reopen on January 31, 2022. In addition, the government lifted other restrictions this month, removing the need for vaccination passports.
Despite the recent relaxation of limitations, the Windsor gaming facilities, as well as the land-based business as a whole, may face fresh competition in the form of Ontario’s new iGaming market. According to a research by HLT Advisory Inc., the online expansion of Caesars Windsor Casino’s products would result in the loss of over 100 of the 500 gaming-related employment.
Source: CBC News, March 16, 2022, “Caesars Windsor employees vote 94 percent in favor of strike action.”