Winnipeg Casino Workers Vote To Authorize Strike Before Christmas

Written By Drew Ellis on December 4, 2023 - Last Updated on December 5, 2023
Winnipeg skyline at night. Casino workers in the city have voted to authorize a strike before Christmas

A trio of Winnipeg casinos may experience a work disruption later this month.

More than 750 Canadian casino workers that are part of Unifor Local 144 voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike if a new contract is not reached by Dec. 23.

These union members have been without a collective agreement with their respective casinos for 18 months and have seen minimal wage increases over more than half a decade.

Unifor casino members in Manitoba have authorized a strike at Winnipeg's three casinos

Three Winnipeg casinos at risk of strike

Unifor represents more than 750 workers at McPhillips Station Casino, Club Regent Casino and the Shark Club Casino in Winnipeg.

Those members work as dealers, cashiers, slot attendants, security, house/grounds, customer service representatives and skilled trades workers.

According to the union, those workers haven’t had a collective work agreement for 18 months and have 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.”

The union workers voted 98% in favour of authorizing a strike if a new contract is not agreed upon by 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 23.

“We don’t have endless patience. A serious offer from the employer is required to get bargaining back on track,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director in a press release. “Unifor members make Manitoba Lotteries wildly profitable. They’ve earned a fair contract.”

According to Unifor Local 144, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries made $740.9 million in profit for 2022.

Attempts by PlayCanada to reach Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, as well as the Winnipeg casinos, have not immediately been returned.

Detroit concludes 47-day workers’ strike

In Detroit, Michigan a casino workers strike just concluded this past weekend.

A total of 3,700 workers at three different casinos – MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown – began on Oct. 17 over a new contract.

Two casinos reached a deal after 34 days, while the MGM Grand Detroit dealt with a strike for 47 days.

That strike impacted the Detroit casinos to approximately $25 million in revenue losses over 14 days of October. Michigan’s November casino revenue numbers have yet to be released.

Those striking union workers in Detroit fought for five core issues. Those were wage increases, no health care payments, workload reductions, retirement benefits and security from technology advancements in the industry.

Photo by PlayCanada
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayiLottery. He used to be the Lead Writer of PlayCanada. Drew has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. He has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area.

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