January 29, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
London, Canada – Fearing that a new operator might endanger their long-term job security, workers at the Western Fair District slot-machine lounge here have asked the Unifor union to help organize them.
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission announced in December that it would be giving Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, based in British Columbia, a 20-year contract to run Western Fair, three other slot-machine lounges, and the Point Edward Casino. The OLG says it will protect the workers’ jobs, including about 400 full and part-time employees at Western Fair, for one year after the takeover begins in May. Some Gateway workers in Western Canada are unionized, but “from what I have seen, their contracts are substantially less lucrative than what we have signed with OLG,” said Doug Boughner, a vice-president with Unifor Local 444. Local 444 organized workers at one of the slots lounges last fall, and they ratified their first union contract this month. The Point Edward workers are also members of Unifor. Read more