Rideau Carleton/Ottawa Raceway Lock-Out
Workers at the Rideau-Carleton/Ottawa Raceway have been locked out of the gaming venue since December 15th 2015. The workers are complaining that they haven’t had a raise since 2009. Additionally, they want to make sure that their pension plans are protected in case OLG sells the racetrack / slots arena to a private investor. OLG, which just recently settled with workers at Brantford, Sudbury and Woodbine/Toronto, claims that the contract that it’s offering is consistent with other casinos in the province. .
The dispute has not affected the racetrack but slots hours have been cut.
The two key issues being negotiated involve wages and pension plans.
Wages and Pensions
Workers in the slots arena haven’t received a raise since 2009. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), which owns and operates Rideau Carleton/Ottawa Raceway, is prepared to raise wages but insists that the wages be frozen for the first two years of any new contract.
The OLG is also demanding that workers agree to the removal of existing pension agreements from their current collective contract.
The OLG registered a net profit of $2 billion in fiscal 2014 and, at the time of the negotiations, had announced that it was expecting an additional $2 billion profit margin in 2015. The RCRS itself generated $128.4 million in revenue in 2014. Only 9.7% of that went to staff salaries. A spokesperson for the workers noted that a 3% increase for the workers would only increase the venue’s operating expenses by 16%, or about $200,000 per year. They say that they can’t understand the objection to a reasonable increase after a six year gap, nor the demand that the workers give up their rights to a reasonable pension plan. The spokesperson said that “it’s ironic that a government so vocal on the need to expand the Canada Pension Plan is allowing its own crown corporation to strongarm workers into giving up their long-standing workplace pension plans.”
RCRS workers are concerned that the OLG is setting the stage for a sale of the venue to a private operator. The package would be much more financially attractive to potential buyers if the employees gave up existing pension rights.
Critics of the OLG point out that, as a provincial entity, OLG should be held to basic standards when engaging in collective bargaining. These critics also hold the ruling Liberal party responsible for not putting pressure on OLG to honor their commitments. Today, Stephen Rigby, former national security advisor under Stephen Harper, runs the OLG which operates under the auspices of Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.
Since the lock-out began, Rideau-Carleton Ottawa Raceway revenues have been rumored to have fallen by $1 million.
AToronto rally in support good pensions for locked out OLG workers is planned for March 9th 2016 at noon at Queens Park in Toronto.
About the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre
Since 1886 horse racing was legalized in Canada, which makes it Canada's oldest form of legalized gambling. Today horse racing in Canada has evolved and is flourishing in at the Rideau Carleton Raceway where it provides Ottawa-area visitors and residents with crowd-pleasing, exciting sports entertainment. Players can attend the races, play slots or both. The facility opened in 1962 and was renovated in 2000. Today it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year who come to the Raceway to enjoy high purses and big payouts.
The races have not been affected by the lock-out and continue to take place every Tuesday and Saturday evening at 6:30p.m.
The slots room is presently open from noon to midnight (lock-out hours; when the lock-out is not occurring, the slots room is open Sunday through Thursday nights and from noon to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights). There are over 1250 slot machines on the slots floor, ranging from penny slots to $5 slots. The slot machines offer a wide range of slots themes and levels, with slots for both beginning players and advanced gamers and with themes that include nature, intrigue, mysticism, mystery, history, magic, mythology, sports, animals, science fiction, humor, whimsy and much more. The slots are powered by the well-known Bally Technologies which provides the casino with the best in slots entertainment.
Players will find diverse slot machines including the popular Wheel of Fortune slots, Blazing 7s slot machine and Ten Times Pay slots. There are also multiple variations of blackjack and poker video games at the electronic tables as well as Baccarat and roulette.
Bingo enthusiasts can play a variety of bingo games at the casino. There are bingo options that include Toonie Pot bingo, Rideau Monster Cash bingo, Super Jackpot bingo, Supersize Jackpot bingo, Nevada Ball Pot bingo and the Daily Double bingo. Bingo game prizes can go as high as $5000. Mondays through Fridays the bingo games start at 6:45 p.m. On Saturdays there are bingo games at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. On Sundays the games take place at 12:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Even people who don’t play slots or get involved in racetrack entertainment come to the Rideau Restaurant for a lovely meal of delicious food and a great atmosphere. The dining room seats 650 and overlooks the racetrack so diners can watch the racetrack action or simply enjoy a fine meal. Breakfasts are served daily until 11:00 and lunches, which are moderately priced, are served until 4:00p.m. Meals at the Rideau Restaurant are made even more affordable with a Winners Circle Card
There are budget-priced all-you-can-eat buffets for lunches and dinners which feature over 100 food choices.
On Saturdays the eatery serves seafood and prime ribs.
The restaurant is open seven days a week. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays the restaurant’s hours are 8:00:a.m to 10:00 p.m., Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Visitors can also enjoy the live racing in the Rideau sports bar. The action is screened on the bar’s 80 HD TV's, allowing patrons to watch the horse racing while they play pool, enjoy snack food and have a round or two of drinks. There’s free pizza in the sports bar on Mondays and soup and sandwiches are alwaysavailable. Everyone’s invited to play pool.
Directions and Shuttle Service
The Rideau Carleton/Ottawa Raceway is located on Albion Road in Ottawa, approximately half an hour’s drive south of downtown Ottawa. A shuttle service is available from the Greenboro transit station to Rideau Carleton Raceway. The shuttle runs once an hour. Last run is at 23:15.