Over the weekend, Unifor Local 444, revealed that Caesars Windsor Casino and staff members who were ready to go out on strike have ratified a tentative agreement. Discussions between the labor union and the casino’s management started in February this year, and now the union has been able to negotiate a new and improved collective agreement for its members.
Official negotiation between the two sides have started on February 18, 2022, and in a recent online meeting, the majority of the workers voted in favor of a pressure tactic such as going out on strike. Luckily, for OLG and Caesars Entertainment which operate the Windsor property, such an action will be avoided as staff agrees to the offered terms.
On Sunday, Present of Unifor Local 444, Dave Cassidy, announced that employees of Caesars Windsor Casino have agreed to the proposed terms by the casino’s management. According to him, an overwhelming 93% of the staff has voted in favor of the proposed contract, and in his words, this is the highest agreement rate in the history of the gaming property.
The proposed terms would grant union members a wage increase over the next three years. In the first year, their wages will increase by CA$0.50, then in the second year by CA$0.75, again CA$0.50 in the third year. In addition to that, new employees would receive a signing bonus of CA$1600 for full-time positions, while part-time would get CA$1200, and casual workers will enjoy a CA$675 one.
Mr. Cassidy further explained that the new signing bonus applies to laid-off workers. For instance, if a worker is laid off one a full-time status, they should receive the corresponding bonus as well. According to union data, approximately 600 staff members from the Windsor property remain laid off despite the recent improvement of health restrictions.
The President of the union is hopeful that as borders are opening up again, the casino would be able to perform to its pre-unprecedented situation levels, and thus return more staff to work. He also added that there will be a one per cent pension increase and that the union did not settle for any concessions during the negotiations. The new agreement will now replace the current one that expires on April 2, 2022.
Prior to last week’s agreement between the two sides, Mr. Cassidy shared that he would like to see provincial and federal governments offer more support for workers who are no longer eligible for employment insurance. As in his words, the unprecedented situation has taken its toll on employees too and not only on the closing and reopening casino properties.
Possible Impact from New Market
Caesars Windsor Casino reopened at the end of this January, however, there could be more bad news on the horizon for the gaming amenity. According to a study by HLT Advisory Inc., the introduction of Ontario’s iGaming market will have a huge effect on the land-based industry. The research predicts that around 100 of the 500 gaming-related jobs at the Windsor property will be eventually lost.
Source: Liu, Sijia “Caesars Windsor comes to an agreement”, CTV News, March 20, 2022