Mediation fails to reach deal in casino dispute

By Greg Fry/Doug Collins
July 12, 2018 - 9:46am

KAMLOOPS — Three days of mediated talks have failed to produce a deal for Gateway Casinos and its 700 unionized workers in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton.

 Doug Kinna from the BCGEU said there was movement on both sides, but not enough. He declined to provide specifics.

 Kinna said there could be more mediated talks next week if the company agrees to that.

 “Where there’s talk there’s hope but our members need fair wages and they need respect from the employer. We want the deal but it has to contain a living wage.”

 He said the workers are getting lots of community support as the strike nears 2 weeks.

 The company told CFJC Today that after three days of mediation and almost two weeks on strike, the union said they cannot give their wage proposal until July 20.

“On the first day of mediation this week the union maintained their proposals for wage increases of 60 per cent plus significant increases for benefits,” said Gateway spokesperson Tanya Gabara.

“This is clearly in excess of any reasonable rates in this market and simply not competitive.”

She said they’ve proposed wage increases between 2.4 per cent and 13 per cent in the first year of the collective agreement in addition to 2 per cent each year after that.

Gabara added the union has also acknowledged that tips form part of an employee’s income.

“The union has calculated tips to be at least $8.75 per hour when providing examples of what to expect for strike pay. In fact, 85 per cent of the positions within these casinos are tip earning positions. Most tips range from $8/hr to $12/hr or more depending on the location or department," she said.

 “These wages, in addition to tips, would see Gateway employees making well over market rates. This proposal is also in line with other recent settlements in B.C. both by government and private companies.”

The last contract between both sides expired last September.

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