It came down to the wire, but some 750-plus employees from three Winnipeg casinos are not going on strike after all.
Just before Christmas, the labour union representing the casino workers said they voted to ratify a new collective agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. The announcement from Unifor Local 144 appeared one day before the union’s original Dec. 23 deadline.
According to Unifor, the modified compact will positively affect the employees of Club Regent Casino, McPhillips Station Casino, and the Shark Club Casino. This group includes dealers, cashiers, slot attendants, security personnel, and maintenance staff at the three Manitoba casinos.
New agreement includes significant wage increases
As part of the four-year contract, employees will see wage increases of 11.25% retroactive to June 2022. Spread across the life of the contract, the yearly breakdown amounts to:
- 2.5% in year one
- 2.75% in year two; and
- 3% in years three and four
What’s more, Unifor says “many workers” will see an additional 4.5% increase based on years of service and current rate of pay.
The deal also includes shift premiums and time-contingent signing bonuses. These bonuses will range between $600 to $1,800 and depend on hours worked, per Unifor. Finally, dealer premiums will see an increase anywhere from $0.20 to $0.70 per hour.
Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle credited the strike mandate as a “key tactic that helped achieve a solid collective agreement.”
Union members went 18 months without collective agreements
Earlier last month, PlayCanada reported that a potential strike was looming if an agreement could not be reached. Things at least appeared that way after union workers voted 98% in favour of authorizing a strike.
One of the group’s main gripes was that its members hadn’t had a collective work agreement for 18 months. That feeling was compounded by the fact they had only seen a 1.75% wage increase over the last six years.
“Unifor members at Manitoba Lotteries deserve a strong collective agreement, not the foot dragging and disrespect we’re seeing from the company,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President, in a news release. “Management has left us little choice but to take job action. My message to this employer: step up and bring a serious offer.”
PlayCanada‘s attempts to reach Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, as well as the Winnipeg casinos were unsuccessful.
However, the sides were able to find a middle ground that best served each other’s interests, bringing an end to the 21 days of angst leading up to the holiday season.