Gateway Casinos is explaining its side of the “Living Wage” issue that seems to be the stumbling block in the continuing strike by its employees in Vernon, Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops.
The company sent out an open letter to the communities saying there has been misinformation about what is a living wage in the region and how its wage offer meets that.
It cites the website LivingWageforFamilies.ca as defining a living wage as a regional calculation that looks at the amount that a family of four needs to earn to meet their expenses. The living wage includes costs like rent and groceries as well as items like extended health care and two weeks’ savings for each adult. It does not include debt repayment or savings for future plans.
Gateway says in the last round of mediated talks it proposed wage increases that would have every employee receiving an increase from 7% to as much as 19% in the first year.
The company says with tips of $8 to $12 per hour, benefits and pension, employees would make well over market rates and gives the example of an entry – level cashier, with an increase of 7.5 per cent, plus tips, earning and average 24 dollars and 21 cents an hour.
The union says tips should not be included in wage bargaining, but Gateway says it’s a standard part of the compensation for many employees.
The company says tips are paid in grievance resolutions with the union.
It goes on to say this annual compensation is well above the ‘Living Wage’ in Kamloops of $36,004 per year (17.31 per hour), as noted by Living Wage for Families Campaign.
Annual compensation includes wages, medical, dental, paid sick time and pension.
“The living wage calculation is based on a two-parent family with two children – the most common family unit in BC – and each parent working full-time. The living wage changes based on costs in each region and would be different for those not in the above noted situation.”
Gateway says its proposal is also well above other recent settlements in British Columbia both by government and private companies.