Unionized workers at Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan and Kamloops have voted strongly in favour of job action to back their contract demands.
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says 675 workers are looking for what she calls a fair deal, with improved wages and benefits.
“We had over 88% of the members from the four casinos come out and vote, and they voted 93% in favour. It is certainly a very strong mandate,” Smith tells Beach Radio News.
Smith says strike preparations are underway and workers are set to walk off the job unless they receive a new proposal from the employer.
“The casino industry is a profitable one, and it is the staff members that work in those casinos that make the experience for the clients, and they should be able to pay the members what they’re worth,” adds Smith.
Negotiations for a new deal broke off in mid-May.
BCGEU represents 675 staff at Gateway’s four casinos in the Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. The employees work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.
Tanya Gabara, Director, Public Relations, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited, says they are disappointed that the union has moved to take a strike vote at the four Gateway locations in the Thompson Okanagan.
“Gateway has made many efforts to negotiate with the BCGEU and most recently requested to return to the bargaining table, but the Union refused. Gateway has applied for mediation and believes that with help of the Labour Relations Board we can resolve the outstanding issues. We remain committed to having respectful discussions with the union to achieve a mutually agreeable contract that is reasonable and responsible for both our employees and the company,” says Gabara in an email to Beach Radio.