Yesterday, plans for two casinos in British Columbia to strike were announced. The BC Casinos were named as Grand Villa Casino and Starlight Casino.
Grand Villa Casino and Starlight Casino have reportedly decided to go ahead with planned strikes. If planned strikes take place, it is likely to cause more unrest in the sector. Staff at Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver recently ended their 10- week strike in September.
Which BC Casinos will strike?
The two BC land-based casinos that have proposed action is Starlight Casinoand Grand Villa Casino. Employees from both casinos have so far voted in favor of strikes. Grand Villa Casino staff voted 88.6% in favor. Employees from Starlight Casino voted 78% in favor of striking. TheBritish Columbian Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) posted the results on their official Twitter page. In a separate tweet, the BCGEU also said “Bargaining committees are meeting to plan the next steps,”
Starlight Casino is located in New Westminster, British Columbia. Opened in 20017, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment operate the casino itself.
Starlight Casino Features
850 slot machines
44 table games
Private gaming room
Grand Villa Casino
Opened in 1996, Grand Villa Casino is also run by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment. It is located in the Burnaby, British Columbia.
Grand Villa Casino Features:
1,200 slot machines
64 table games
11 table poker room
Why are Starlight Casino and Grand Villa Casino Striking?
Representatives for both casinos say the strike action is over wages and benefits. Usually, strike action is only used when union talks break down. BCGEU who represents staff at both casinos has already issued votes in this case. Something which Gateway Casinos and Entertainment group who operate the casinos will not be happy about.
Across British Columbia, there have already been several worker strikes. One of the most high profile strikes was at Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver.
Strike at Hard Rock Casino
On May 11th, 2018 400 staff at Hard Rock Casinowalked out. Disputes over staff pay and conditions were the cause of the strike. However, neither side of the dispute backed down with their demands. This led to major disruption for Hard Rock Vancouverand its customers.
Finally, 10 weeks later a deal was reached. After the new staff deal was signed the BCGEUsaid “On behalf of every member of the BCGEU, I want to congratulate the Hard Rock workers and their bargaining committee” – Stephanie Smith (president)
Okanagan casino strike
Another strike that took place over the summer was at Okanagan Casinos. Also, run by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, staff were also unhappy about their conditions. After talks failed with Gateway and the unions, workers went on strike in June 2018. Casinos affected by the strikes were Cascades Kamloops, Cascades Penticton, Playtime Kelowna, and Lake City Vernon.
Workers at these casinos were also part of the BCGEU. Defending the strike, the BCEU president said “Our members are asking for living wages that would bring them in-line with the industry standard for casino workers in BC,” and, “These workers are the heart of their casinos. Gateway is a successful company in a highly profitable industry — they can afford to pay their staff what they are worth.” – Stephanie Smith
Now it seems Starlight Casino and Grand Villa Casino are next on the picket line.
Will Starlight Casino and Grand Villa Casino go on strike?
Unless a deal is struck with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment strike action is likely. Given that the holiday season has started it is not ideal for workers to strike. Holiday time revenues amount to millions of dollars. Management at Starlight Casino and Grand Villa Casinocannot afford to lose out.
Bargaining meetings are already taking place in hopes to avoid strikes. Both Starlight Casinoand Grand Villa Casino staff have already voted in favor of striking. Meaning there is likely to be a deadline for Gateway to produce an acceptable deal.
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