Will Australian Billionaire resolve Palace Casino strike in Edmonton?

    AFL asks Australia's richest man to intervene

    EDMONTON, April 20 /CNW/ - In a letter sent today to James D. Packer,
Executive Chairman of PBL Publishing & Broadcasting Limited - the Australian
publishing, broadcasting and gambling giant - the Alberta Federation of Labour
has asked the Australian billionaire to resolve the seven month old labour
dispute at the Palace Casino in Edmonton.
    "I have simply asked Mr. Packer to look at this dispute in a cool,
dispassionate business way," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "His company has
just acquired the Palace Casino along with the other assets of the Gateway
Casinos Income Fund, and we are hoping that a fresh approach by the new
ownership can break this deadlock."
    In the letter, McGowan pointed out just how badly the strike has affected
the financial picture at the Palace Casino. "I informed Mr. Packer about the
massive $3.5 million drop in revenue from Palace in the fourth quarter - which
coincides with the beginning of the strike," notes McGowan. "Operating
earnings during the period fell from $2.167 million to a loss of $.582 million
- a drop of 126.9%."
    "What should be a flagship of his new Canadian holdings is actually a
drag on profits because of the strike," says McGowan. "I suggested to Mr.
Packer that he could restore good will in Edmonton and make the Palace Casino
profitable by encouraging management to reach a fair and equitable settlement
with the striking members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local
    "I believe that any businessperson as successful Mr. Packer will not let
this situation continue to impact his operations," concludes McGowan.

For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, President, Bus: (780) 483-3021,
Cell: (780) 218-9888

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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