"All we're asking for is a fair deal for workers. We urge the employer to come back to the bargaining table with a view to getting a deal done." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (14 Aug. 2017) — Workers at River Rock Casino this week voted 99.4 per cent in favour of a strike if necessary to back their contract proposals.
In nearly a year of negotiations between the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) and the employer, Great Canadian Casinos, the 2 sides have failed to achieve a first collective agreement. It's not for a lack of effort on the union's part.
"We welcomed River Rock employees into our union knowing their working conditions needed to be improved and we were determined to achieve that," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "We've spent many months now trying to move the employer on a number of key issues and it just hasn't happened. Strike mandates are always a last resort, but we've been left with no choice."
90 per cent of members support strike action
Participation in the strike vote demonstrated the determination of members to achieve a fair collective agreement. Nearly 90 per cent of the 977 BCGEU/NUPGE members at River Rock, who were eligible to vote, did so.
Mediated talks are expected to take place this week. If those fail, the prospect of job action will become more likely — a move that could cost Great Canadian Casinos millions of dollars in lost revenue.
"It's hard to feel confident that Great Canadian is bargaining in good faith. All we're asking for is a fair deal for workers. We urge the employer to come back to the bargaining table with a view to getting a deal done," said Smith.
The BCGEU/NUPGE is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia, representING more than 73,000 members across all sectors of the economy, including over 3,800 workers in casinos.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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