Palace Casino Ordered to Pay Damages to Union

    EDMONTON, March 15 /CNW/ - Striking workers at Palace Casino in West
Edmonton Mall have won a major victory in arbitration, one that imposes a
stinging penalty for flagrant employer misconduct. In an award issued
yesterday regarding a grievance filed before the strike began, an arbitrator
has awarded monetary damages to UFCW Local 401, and to the individual members
at Palace Casino.
    The ruling found that an employer ban on the wearing of union pins was
discriminatory, and a deprivation of employee rights to freedom of expression
and the union's ability to represent its members. The arbitrator therefore
awarded $10,000 to the union, $500 to each employee, and a further $1,000 to
employees who were confronted in the workplace and ordered to remove their
union pins.
    The grievance stems from UFCW's campaign to become certified as the union
representing workers at Palace Casino, after the employer withdrew an existing
voluntary recognition of the union. The fact that a collective agreement was
already in place, however, meant that employee rights were already protected
by a contract. After hearing argument from both sides, the arbitrator ruled
    "I find that the company's breach was committed intentionally to prevent
employees from exhibiting support for UFCW. I believe that this was done in
the hope that it would discourage Union membership and increase the likelihood
that the Union's certification bid would fail."
    Doug O'Halloran, president of UFCW 401 said: the award provides a big
boost to the morale of the striking workers. "We've won an important victory
with this grievance, and by sticking together we can win an even bigger one in
this strike."
    AFL President Gil McGowan agrees. "This ruling shows that employers can't
get away with trampling over the Charter rights of their employees, at least
not when there's a union in the workplace to defend those rights."

For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, Cell: (780) 218-9888

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