"These workers stuck together to set the industry standard. Our members told Gateway they needed to do better this time and, in the end, they achieved solid contracts with significant wage increases and many other ground-breaking provisions." — Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer
Burnaby/New Westminster (13 Dec. 2018) — Over 1,200 members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) working at Gateway's Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby and at its Starlight Casino in New Westminster voted to accept new collective agreements putting them among the highest-paid casino workers in the province.
Workers fought for improved wages and benefits — and won!
"These workers stuck together to set the industry standard," said Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer. "Our members told Gateway they needed to do better this time and, in the end, they achieved solid contracts with significant wage increases and many other ground-breaking provisions."
The 4-year contracts include a weighted average of 15 per cent wage increases over the life of the agreement, with some of the lowest-paid workers receiving over 20 per cent increases.
"In this round, the bargaining committee prioritized lifting wages for lower-paid workers," said Finch.
"With the cost of living rising amid a housing crisis across the province, it is vital that employers, especially in the highly profitable casino sector, pay wages that allow all their employees to live where they work," said Finch.
More work to be done in casino industry to improve working conditions
The contracts also include improvements to sick leave, a benefits plan for part-time employees, accommodations and leave for victims of domestic violence, and a new process to deal with abuse from patrons.
"There is still a lot of work to do. Many casino workers do not have a union, and some are paid close to minimum wage, with uncertain and unfair working conditions," said Finch.
BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 800 workers at Gateway's Grand Villa Casino and over 450 at Starlight Casino. BCGEU/NUPGE members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, restaurants, security, guest services and maintenance.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE