Update 1 pm:
Gateway Casinos is flatly denying union accusations it may not be operating safely during a strike by BCGEU members now into its seventh week.
The union held a rally outside the BC Lottery Corporation office in Kamloops today, calling for an investigation into how the company has been operating its outlets in the Okanagan and Kamloops during the job action.
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith says their members on the line have seen some concerning behaviours at the casinos, and they’ve concerned if Gateway is living up to its obligations under the Gaming Control Act.
“For example, they’ve seen people at the door who are not ID-ing patrons as they go in and yet they’re clearly under the age of 30. They’ve seen extremely intoxicated patrons both going in and coming out, and over-serving is a complete no-no,” Smith tells Beach Radio News
Smith also maintains casino security is not certified.
“We’ve been told by excluded management, no, they don’t have that certification.”
Tanya Gabara, Gateway’s Public Relations Director, says the union’s allegations are “patently false and a desperate attempt to malign their business and employees.”
She says the regulatory oversight for their properties remains the same despite the job action.
“We feel the BCGEU should focus on getting back to the bargaining table to allow these 675 employees to return to work instead of making false allegations that are unfounded and disappointing. We are committed to our customers and the employees that remain on the job and all four locations are open for business,” adds Gabara.
(Story by Pete McIntyre)
12 pm update:
Gateway Casinos has issued the following response to allegations made by the BC Government and Service Union, calling for the BC Lottery Corporation to investigate possible safety violations during the strike.
Tanya Gabara, Director of Public Relations for Gateway, says in an email to Beach Radio News, “the allegations made by the BCGEU against our operations are patently false and is a desperate attempt to malign our business and employees.”
“The regulatory oversight for our properties remains the same even though the union took our employees on strike as we remain open for business at all four sites.
Gaming in British Columbia is highly regulated and the Province of British Columbia, BCLC and Gateway have layers of security and oversight in place to keep casinos safe and enjoyable.
“We feel the BCGEU should focus on getting back to the bargaining table to allow these 675 employees to return to work instead of making false allegations that are unfounded and disappointing.
We are committed to our customers and the employees that remain on the job and all four locations are open for business,” adds Gabara.
Striking Casino workers are calling on the BC Lottery Corporation to investigate whether Gateway Casinos is operating its four Thompson-Okanagan casinos safely during their strike.
The BCGEU claims many of the workers have seen security infractions from checking ID to suspicious behaviour possibly related to money laundering and complying with liquor policies.
Union President Stephanie Smith says the union has some questions it feels Gateway needs to answer.
“At a time when the entire casino industry is supposed to be under increased scrutiny, we believe the BCLC should shut down Gateway’s casinos until the company can demonstrate that they are willing and able to operate responsibly.”
The union will be rallying at the Lottery Corporation headquarters in Kamloops at noon today.
The close to 700 workers at Gateway operations in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops have been on strike since June 29th.
Two attempts at mediation have gone nowhere and there is no hint of further talks.