Unifor Seeks Court Relief Re Gateway Demands

By Ben Hamill - June 24 2020

Unifor Seeks Court Relief Re Gateway Demands

Casino workers’ union Unifor Local 1090 has filed an official violation complaint against casino operator giant Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. The union has said that it is nothing short of appalled at Gateway’s decision to terminate the payment of employee benefits by as early as June 30th. It will be some time yet before the more than one thousand workers employed by the operator’s Casino Rama will be in a position to return to work, let alone to a position of earning at pre-lockdown capacities.

According to Unifor president Corey Dalton, the union has been unsuccessfully pleading and trying to negotiate with Gateway for going on seven weeks. Suggestions brought to the table by Unifor reportedly include an extension of benefits up to at least July 31st, and that Gateway should at least be willing to entertain and explore the idea of approaching the country’s Emergency Wage Subsidy fund for financial relief.

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Predatory Behaviour

Gateway, says Dalton, is only willing to provide wage subsidies and an extension of employee benefits on condition that the employees themselves are willing to bear the costs associated with the extension of benefits. Gateway furthermore, or so the union alleges, expects Unifor to agree to up to fifteen “concessions” before even beginning to consider adhering to the union’s requests on behalf of the affected employees.

Concessions put to table by the operator include (among others) the combining of certain positions (which will undoubtedly lead to massive job losses), a forfeiture of all already-bargained rights related to dealer breaks, the closure of the employee cafeteria at the Casino Rama, and the termination of the employee shuttle service carrying workers between the casino and the rest of the resort.

Unifor Now Seeks Judicial Relief

Dalton is convinced that the concessions demanded by Gateway are nothing short of manipulative behaviour on the back of an agenda involving the cutting of costs and the cutting of staff; an end-result that will according to the union lead to a negative experience for both guests as well as the remaining employees.

The union has in the meantime stated its intention as that of pursuing the already-filed grievance under the provisions of S49 of Canada’s Labour Relations act. The union did according to Dalton decide on this specific course of action as it is the quickest method available to the end of resolving a labour dispute.

What Gateway is trying to achieve by way of offering employee benefits in return for concessions is according to Unifor, shameful corporate behaviour. The operator is trying to pass off a major casino resort as some local budget accommodating small-time gambling hall, concluded a fuming Dalton.

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