Steelworkers at OLG Casino Thunder Bay Ratify First Contract

THUNDER BAY, ON, July 11, 2014 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) members employed at OLG Casino Thunder Bay have ratified their first collective agreement.

The casino employees, who joined the Steelworkers last November, voted by an 85-per-cent margin Thursday in favour of a three-year contract with the casino.

"I congratulate these new Steelworkers on their success in achieving a good collective agreement under very difficult circumstances," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"These hard-working employees joined our union because many of their concerns were not being addressed by their employer," Warren said. "Their new collective agreement is a legally binding contract that protects the terms and conditions of their jobs. They now have a real voice in their workplace and a process to enforce the agreement to ensure they are treated fairly."

The casino employees joined the Steelworkers last fall after months of uncertainty over the Ontario Liberal government's rumoured plans to privatize the facility. The OLG also had denied wage increases to employees for five years and had announced an extension of the wage freeze.

The new contract ratified Thursday is a three-year agreement taking effect retroactively in November 2013. It provides employees with an immediate $800 signing bonus and a 1.75-per-cent wage increase in the contract's third year. It also includes improvements to benefits and working conditions.

The OLG also agrees that in the event of a privatization of the casino, the facility's new operator will be considered the successor employer under provincial labour law and will be bound by the collective agreement.

Approximately 180 employees, working in most areas of the Thunder Bay casino, are covered by the new collective agreement. Negotiations are expected to begin soon on a first collective agreement for a second group of Thunder Bay casino workers - the office, clerical and administrative employees - who also joined the Steelworkers last fall.

The USW represents employees at four OLG gaming facilities in Ontario. A collective agreement was reached recently with security staff at OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs, while first collective agreements are expected to be negotiated soon by USW members at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Bruce Frost, USW Local 1-2010 Business Representative, 807-345-9041, brucesteelworkers@gmail.com
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca