Ontario Casino Workers At Ajax And Pickering Still On Strike

Written By Dave Briggs on July 28, 2022 - Last Updated on July 29, 2022
Pickering and Ajax casino workers are still on strike five days after deals were reached with six other Great Canadian properties

Ontario casino workers at Pickering Casino Resort and Casino Ajax are still on strike this afternoon five days after a strike was averted at six other casinos in the province.

Great Canadian Casino Corporation operates all eight properties.

Unifor Local 1090 posted on its Facebook page Thursday that the major unresolved issue at Pickering and Ajax is trying to achieve pay equity with workers at Casino Woodbine, a nearby GCGC property. A Unifor Local 1090 post from Thursday morning read:

“Our (Pickering and Ajax) workers earn, on average, approximately 15% less than a worker at Woodbine, working for the same employer doing the same job.”

Unifor represents security workers at Casino Woodbine. However, the Public Service Alliance of Canada union represents gaming floor workers at Woodbine.

GCGC says union rejected latest offer, chose to strike

PlayCanada asked a GCGC spokesperson for comment. We will update this story if we hear back from the company.

A company statement on the Pickering Casino website said:

“We have been in negotiations with Unifor in recent weeks in an effort to reach an agreement that provides our team members at Pickering Casino Resort with fair and attractive wages, benefits and careers. Regrettably, Unifor has rejected our offer and has chosen to strike.”

GCGC said it is committed to:

  • Continuing negotiations with Unifor to get our team members back to work as soon as possible.
  • Delivering a great guest experience for however long the strike may last.

Casino Woodbine workers, along with those at Great Blue Heron Casino in Port Perry, Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands in Ganaoque, Shorelines Casino Peterborough, Elements Casino Mohawk in Milton and Elements Casino Brantford reached an agreement with GCGC on a new contract in the early hours of Sunday.

How will the strike impact casino patrons?

Casino Ajax and Pickering Casino’s websites said both facilities remains open 24/7. Though, there may be some disruptions to service.

Pickering Casino has 2,115 slot machines, 75 table games and 60 stadium gaming seats. During the labour dispute its services are as follows:

  • Open 24/7 with slots and electronic table games.
  • Casual Restaurant remains open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
  • Live table games are not available at this time.
  • Access via Church street and Squires Beach road remain open
  • Eligible One Rewards members who are registered for the July 24th Slot Tournament will be contacted within the next 24 hours to reschedule and transfer their slot tournament session to Casino Woodbine.

At Ajax, slots and electronic table games remain open 24/7. However, the Getaway restaurant has modified hours.

Local president asks GCGC to return to the table

At press time, the two sides had stopped negotiating.

Corey Dalton, president of Unifor Local 1090 said in a video released by the union:

“We received a 99% straight mandate from this membership. The solidarity is fantastic, the resolve is incredible. These workers are prepared to stand up and fight for what they believe is fair and we want to get them the best deal we can.

“We want to resolve this, we want to get these workers back to back to doing what they do best is serving our guests… My message to the employer is, ‘Sit down, let’s talk our way through this. We want to make deal with this in the boardroom. That’s the appropriate way of dealing with this issue.’ So let’s sit down let’s discuss this. Let’s try and get an end to this and get our members back to work.”

Legal secondary picketing has started at Great Blue Heron Casino

Unifor also announced on Facebook that legal secondary picketing has also started at the Great Blue Heron Casino. The post further said:

“In the interest of public safety, guests are being asked to use the casino entrance off of Mississaugas Trail (this is to avoid unsafe traffic backups on busy Island Road). We strongly encourage guests who are looking for Casino Entertainment to visit Casino Rama Resort as an alternative while the strike is ongoing.

“Emergency vehicles are being provided unobstructed access at all entrances at all times. Vehicles will not be delayed trying to exit.

“Casino guests should anticipate short delays upon arriving for informational purposes. We ask that you please approach the picket line slowly and safety. If you are in the area, the workers encourage you to honk to show your support as we fight to achieve a fair and equitable agreement.”

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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Canada with emphasis on the casino, sports betting and horse racing sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Canada and Michigan.

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