Strike kicks off with rally at Hard Rock.
Coquitlam, B.C. (14 May 2018) — Members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) working at Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam walked off the job on May11, in their escalating efforts to get fair wages, benefits and respect at work.
Hundreds of workers and supporters gathered for a rally in front of the casino at 2073 Hartley Ave., in Coquitlam, at 1:30 p.m. on May 11.
Negotiations and mediation for a first contract failed after both parties were too far apart on a number of issues including wages, benefits and hours of work.
BCGEU/NUPGE members fighting for a living wage
"Many of the employees at Hard Rock haven't had a wage increase in over 10 years," said Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU/NUPGE. "Wages have not kept up with the rising cost of living, and now a large number of workers are working 2 or 3 jobs and still struggling to get by."
Smith continued, "It's totally unacceptable for a successful company in the highly profitable casino industry not to pay a decent, living wage to the workers who ensure their success."
Hard Rock Casino Vancouver is owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. Great Canadian announced earlier this week, a 62 per cent increase in revenue this quarter over the same period last year.
Workers fighting short shifts
Employees at Hard Rock voted to join the BCGEU/NUPGE in May 2016, and have been trying to negotiate a first collective agreement with their employer since January 2017. When they reached an impasse earlier this year, 99.5 per cent of Hard Rock workers voted in favour of strike action.
Aside from improved wages, Hard Rock workers are also looking for improved health benefits, a more stable pension plan, and fairness in scheduling and hours of work.
"We're looking for language that prevents Hard Rock management from forcing workers to go home early," said Smith. "How can a person budget when they can't count on working a full shift?"
The BCGEU/NUPGE represents over 400 staff at Hard Rock working in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, theatre and guest services.
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