Union cites lack of transparency as reason for breakdown in talks
(Kelowna) Mediated talks between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) in the Thompson-Okanagan broke off last week after the company refused to release financial information to back up claims that they cannot afford the workers' wage proposals.
"Gateway says they can't afford to pay our members in the Okanagan the living wage we are asking for but, when we asked them to prove it by showing the mediator the company's financials, they refused," said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "How can our members trust Gateway's claims when they refuse to let a third-party mediator verify them?"
The mediator called both parties back to the table for four days of talks from September 4 – 7 but they were unable to reach a deal.
"Gateway's most recent offer is neither fair nor reasonable. It would keep our members working in their casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan earning well below wages casino workers are making on the coast for the same work and it would mean most of our members' wages would still be hovering around minimum wage by the second year of the agreement," said Smith.
"Life in the Thompson-Okanagan is expensive and is about to become even less affordable with a potential 4.5% rent increase across the province. Our members working at Gateway Casinos simply cannot afford to live in the region on the wages the company is offering" said Smith.
Over 675 BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan walked off the job on Friday, June 29 after mediation broke down with their employer. Workers are fighting for living wages, better working conditions and respect on the job.
BCGEU represents staff spread across Gateway's four casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. BCGEU members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.