Striking workers at Shorelines Casino Belleville in Ontario have reached an agreement with the casino that will see them get an average 13 per cent pay raise, rising to 24 per cent for some of the other classifications at the Bell Boulevard gaming facility.
The Belleville Intelligencer reports that Unifor Local 1090 workers at the casino had been on strike for five days before 92 per cent of the membership voted to accept their very first collective agreement with the employer.
Corey Dalton, president of Unifor Local 1090, said in an interview that “the three-year agreement addresses a lot of issues we had such as wages obviously.”
“Clearly the workers are happy. The general feeling of the workers that were there was very positive and they will be returning back to work tomorrow. They’re eager to get back to work, they’re definitely eager to get back to work under the new collective agreement,” Dalton said, per the Intelligencer.
The strike had commenced at 1 a.m. on October 22, with picket lines erected later that morning.
Local 1090 members at Shorelines Belleville had rejected a previous offer by a majority of 84 per cent on October 20.
Chuck Keeling, executive vice-president, Stakeholder Relations and Responsible Gaming, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. which owns the casino, said the company was pleased with the ultimate outcome of the negotiations.
“We are very pleased that the Unifor members of Shorelines Casino Belleville have accepted our latest offer. The agreement is a fair and reasonable one for both parties, and with the Ontario provincial government’s recent announcement allowing casinos to return to full occupancy, our team can now concentrate on the rebuilding of the business from the impacts of the pandemic and the important economic impact Shorelines Casino Belleville generates for the community,” Keeling said in an emailed statement to the Intelligencer.
In a joint statement following the conclusion of talks, both parties said “the contract reduces the cost of extended health benefits by 50 per cent and increases the number of Shorelines Casino Belleville workers who will have access to the health plan by lowering the threshold from 28 hours worked per week to 24.”
Before the ratification vote, Great Canadian Gaming had reportedly been seeking a court injunction this week to remove picketing workers from the entrance of the Bell Boulevard entrance to the casino. That has now been abandoned.
Shorelines Casino Belleville remains open to patrons.
Unifor Local 1090 represents 93 workers at the casino in table games, slots, food and beverage, kitchen and culinary, facilities and housekeeping, guest services, and cashiering.
Overall, Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
“I am very impressed with the solidarity and activism of the Shorelines group in Belleville,” said Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, per Global News. “The employer tried to test their determination, but our members stayed strong and succeeded in winning important gains.”