June 11, 2018

Casino workers petition BCLC for fairness - BCGEU

Workers rallying at BCLC offices on Monday at 12:30pm

(Vancouver) - Members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at casinos are petitioning BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) on Monday, June 11 asking them to ensure fairness in wages and working conditions at casinos across the province.

Workers from several BC casinos will gather outside the BCLC office at 2940 Virtual Way in Vancouver for a rally at 12:30pm with BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. After the rally, a delegation will enter the office to deliver hundreds of petition cards signed by casino workers to the BCLC.

"Casino workers from across the province have had enough," says Smith. "We are appealing to BCLC to help ensure fairness across the gaming industry."

"When companies like Great Canadian Gaming and Gateway Casinos rake in billions of dollars year after year, but refuse to pay workers a living wage, there is something wrong with the industry," Smith continued. "We're asking BCLC to step in and fix the problems in the gaming sector – starting with the way workers are treated."

Over 400 BCGEU members at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver have been on strike since May 11, 2018 and over 675 workers at Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan voted 93.1% in favour of striking last week. Over 1,000 staff working at Gateway's Grand Villa and Starlight casinos in the lower mainland are also in bargaining with their employer.

"Casino workers are asking for fair wages, benefits and respect on the job," says Smith. "It's the staff who make their casinos profitable and they deserve to share in that success."

The petition, signed by hundreds of casino workers across the province, states as follows:

Gaming in BC suffers from poor management, disrespectful workplace atmosphere, low public perception and confidence, exploitative working conditions and excessive secrecy.

In light of this, we demand that British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) provide:

Immediate intervention to take responsibility for the conduct and management of gaming on behalf of the government as set out in the Gaming Control Act by 

1. Ensuring a fair and speedy resolution to the labour dispute at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver; and 

2. Enforcing fairness across the entire industry. 

BCGEU represents thousands of casino workers in the province. BCGEU members are working in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services, theatres and maintenance.



June 08, 2018

Workers vote to strike at Gateway Okanagan Casinos - BCGEU

An astounding 93.1% vote in favour of strike action

Over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) working at Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking strike action against their employer this week.

In a vote held from June 4 to 6, over 88% of Gateway staff in casinos in Kelowna, Kamloops, Penticton and Vernon came out and voted 93.1% in favour of taking strike action.

"Gateway workers in the Okanagan are sending a clear message to their employer: they will not settle for less than the fair wages, benefits and respect they deserve," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.

Negotiations for a new collective agreement broke off in May after the employer refused to offer wages and benefits that are industry standard at comparable casinos.

Smith says the employer's offer is unacceptable. "The wages Gateway are offering won't even keep ahead of the planned minimum wage increases."

"These workers are the heart of their casinos. Gateway is a successful company in a highly profitable industry – they can afford to pay their workers what they are worth."

Strike preparations are now underway and workers are set to walk off the job unless they receive a new proposal from the employer. 

"Gateway Casino workers in the Okanagan are ready to do whatever it takes to get a fair contract with their employer – including strike, if necessary," says Smith. 

Gateway's Okanagan staff have been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement since the last one expired in September 2017. BCGEU members working at the casinos held a rally last mon


June 07, 2018

Parents stunned to learn Downtown Eastside daycare to close - BCGEU

The sudden closure of a downtown Vancouver daycare centre has upset parents and raised questions about the timing of the decision.

Angela Giannoulis, whose three-year-old son Nikolas has been attending the Phil Bouvier Centre for two years, says the idea of a closure is heartbreaking.

"The relief to know that while you are at work your child is being lovingly cared for … and to think that's being taken away, and we have to start from scratch to try and find another space again in this city," she said.








June 07, 2018

Parents raise questions after daycare's decision to close - BCGEU

Parents and union officials are raising questions about a prominent East Vancouver daycare's decision to close its doors just days after its workers applied to join a union.

The Vancouver Native Health Society, which runs the Phil Bouvier Family Centre daycare, sent a letter Monday citing "problems and hardships" for the closure.

"As a not-for-profit society, there is only so much we can do with the funding we are given and unfortunately the daycare has proved to be incapable of running at a sustainable financial level," the letter read. "This has led to an untenable situation where we are not providing you with the level of service originally contemplated when the daycare opened."



Read more... 


May 29, 2018

Executive donation to Red Cross for flood relief - BCGEU

From April through June 2017, catastrophic flooding devastated parts of the Okanagan, Kootenay and Shuswap regions forcing thousands of British Columbians from their homes. According to the BC Flood and Wildfire Review released last month, the estimated cost of flood response in 2017 was more than $73 million.

Just a year later, while many families and communities are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2017 flood season, the 2018 flood season is well underway in B.C. and across Canada and the early indications are that it will be similar in scale and impact. 

It will be months before we know the monetary cost of 2018 flood response but the needs are already immediate, apparent and growing.

That's why your BCGEU executive committee is proud to donate $5,000 to the Canadian Red Cross in British Columbia to support flood relief efforts in our province. There are many worthy charities and non-profits working in the area of disaster recovery but your executive committee chose to donate to the Red Cross in order to take advantage of the B.C. government's pledge to match up to $20 million in donations to the Red Cross for those affected by the catastrophic floods this spring.

The government's dollar-to-dollar matching pledge covers all individual donations made between May 16 and July 31.

More information on the B.C. government's donation matching pledge 

More information on the Red Cross 2018 B.C. flood response 

More information on the 2017 B.C. Flood and Wildfire Review 


May 25, 2018

BCGEU applauds provincial investment in 1,500 new housing units for women fle...

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) applauds today's announcement by the provincial government that it will build 1,500 new supportive housing units throughout the province for women and children fleeing violence. Over the next 10 years, government will invest $734 million to build this much-needed housing which includes transition houses, safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing. 

In 2017, the BCGEU released its report Collective wisdom: challenges and opportunities in B.C. women's services which described a sector greatly undermined by inadequate public funding. Among the report's recommendations was to improve women's services by investing in safe and affordable housing for women and children. 

"A long-term lack of funding for housing programs amounted to a complete failure to provide enough safe and affordable housing for the province's most vulnerable, especially women and children," says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. "This investment, the first of its kind in 20 years, will reduce this pressure – both for the women and children in need, as well as for the workers that care for and support them." 

The BCGEU's report was the result of a March 2017 structured dialogue on issues facing the sector in which 60 BCGEU members who work in community social services (component 3) provided their input.

"Workers in this sector, which is largely made up of women helping vulnerable women, face significant challenges in providing resources where and when they are needed," says BCGEU component 3 vice president Andrea Duncan. "During our 2017 dialogue, our members made clear the urgent need for government to reinvest in vital public and community social services. We are so pleased to see government recognize this need and take action to provide this supportive housing." 

The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 75,000 members and represents over 1,500 workers in women's services throughout the province.

Click here to download the report: Collective wisdom: challenges and opportunities in B.C. women's services



May 17, 2018

Coquitlam casino still behind pickets - BCGEU

After five days of job action, a labour dispute at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver in Coquitlam does not appear to be ending anytime soon.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. said in a statement Monday that it has been granted an order by the B.C. Labour Relations Board prohibiting striking workers from blocking entry to the property. 




May 17, 2018


Talks between Gateway Casinos and members of the BC Government and Service Employees Union have broken off.

On Tuesday morning, over a hundred employees of Gateway Casinos from Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Kamloops rallied in Kelowna to push for higher wages.




May 17, 2018


Employees of Gateway Casinos from Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Kamloops gathered in Kelowna Tuesday morning to push for higher wages.

Negotiations between the company and the bargaining committee began back in January, but stopped abruptly in March, prompting Tuesday’s demonstration.