Gateway Casinos blames the BCGEU for the breakdown in mediated contract talks over the weekend.
The meeting began Friday but ended Saturday morning when the union felt the company’s response to its wage offer was insulting.
Company spokesperson Tanya Gabara says the union refused to negotiate.
“We moved as well but again, you know, these are negotiations, and if they continue to walk away
from the table we’re not negotiating and we had a whole day and a half left to do that at the bargaining table to get a deal.”
Gabara says the company did make moves not just on wages but on other monetary items within its package and the union walked away without a response.
Gabara admits the two sides are still far apart with the union still asking for 40 per cent
“Our wage increases remain between 2 and 15 per cent in the first year. We believe that this is fair and reasonable for the market dynamics in the Thompson-Okanagan.”
She says workers in the region do not face the same market dynamics as those on the coast.
The operations here are smaller and are not 24 hours and there’s no industry standard that the union says it is seeking.
Gabara says the wages the company are offering would keep employees above minimum wage.
As for the union saying some managers are taunting workers on the picket line with comments. Tanya Gabera said she shouldn’t comment on undocumented claims but affirmed the company’s position that it respects the employees and their right to strike.
She says the company is willing to talk if the union wants to come back and negotiate.
No other mediation dates have been suggested and it’s not clear if either side would go to the mediator at this point to try to arrange anything.
Update: 9:50 am Jul 23
BCGEU Executive Vice President Doug Kinna says Gateway Casinos response to the union’s latest contract package was insulting.
A 2nd round of mediation began Friday and ended Saturday morning when company bargainers answered with what Kinna said was still well below industry standard.
negotiate properly, be ready to come to an agreement.”
Which, he says, would leave slot attendants for example, making about 4 dollars an hour less than the same workers on the coast.
Mediation between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union on strike officially broke off on Saturday.
“We made moves on our end in mediation trying to get to a deal, but Gateway still refuses to pay its workers what they are worth,” said BCGEU Executive Vice President Doug Kinna.
“Gateway keeps saying publicly that they want our members back at work but, behind closed doors, they are offering insulting wage proposals that don’t even keep up with planned minimum wage increases.”
There are currently no new dates set for mediation.
BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan walked off the job on June 29 after mediation broke down with their employer.
The union represents 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 members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.
The major issues with the union are what they describe as a living wage, better working conditions and respect on the job.
There has been no press release from Gateway Casinos at this time.