Windsor Casino Workers Reject Second Tentative Agreement —

Rallying with casino workers on May Day 2018.

On May 19 workers at Caesars Windsor casino and hotel rejected a second tentative agreement with a 53 per cent majority. The 2,300 Caesars’ workers are represented by Unifor Local 444. They launched their strike on April 6 after they rejected a previous tentative agreement by a majority of 59 per cent on April 5. The workers have the support of other working people seen in donations as well as visits to their picket line and participation in public rallies.

The striking workers give a variety of reasons for the latest rejection including the wage package, increasing contracting out of restaurants and services within the casino which eliminates unionized jobs, concerns over security in retirement, working conditions and the lack of respect from their employer.

Pitted against the workers’ claims on the oodles of money brought into the casino through gambling and concerts are the claims of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the City of Windsor, the U.S. corporation Caesars Entertainment which manages the casino and hotel, and other contracted-out enterprises within the casino.

Representing these claimants, Kevin Laforet, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, after the vote rejecting the second tentative agreement arrogantly said in a statement, “The agreement is more than fair and sustainable.” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens lamented: “This whole thing is bad — for the workers, for local businesses across the city, for visitors, the casino, union and for the city.” The ongoing strike “hurts 2,300 families who have to continue to go without a paycheque and will continue to feel pain,” he said.

Respect the Demands of Casino Workers!

Workers have a right to a say over their wages and working conditions because it is they who do the work every day and know what is required so that they can live with dignity while working and in retirement. Whether it is casino workers, auto workers, teachers, education workers or others, they have the right to reject contracts which do not respect them and their work.

The workers’ decision to say No! to the second tentative agreement is positive. It shows they are standing up for what belongs to them by right when it comes to working conditions, wages and security in retirement. They are true sons and daughters of the Windsor working people! It is worrisome to hear the mayor say that the workers’ No! is bad for them. Why is it bad for them? Presumably, their demand to make decent wages harms the casino and its profits, and a prolonged strike would threaten the percentage of revenue that comes to the city from casino revenues through the OLG. Windsor is made up of its people. It can thrive when its workers’ rights are affirmed. The casino workers’ just demands for proper wages and security in retirement contribute to the city and its well-being.

This is why casino workers reject the attempts to split families by those claiming that the workers’ demands are opposed by their own families. This is not the role a mayor or any elected official should play in a labour dispute. The workers know what they need. We hope working people of Windsor join them on the picket line to express support for their fight.