Cascades Casino Chatham Employees Delighted with Improved Contracts3rd March 2021 |
2020 has been a particularly difficult year with 2021 only slightly starting to look up so far. However, amidst the unprecedented situation the whole world has found itself in, Cascades Casino Chatham has given its staff a new and improved contract to make sure that the workforce is not only retained by the casino but also to help its employees in times which are especially challenging economically. The new contract found overwhelming support by personnel, with 87.3% agreeing to the terms.
The gambling venue is managed and operated by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, who had positive talks regarding their unionized employees’ contract with the union representing them. The new agreement will be in place until November 2023, and includes wage increments over the three-year course of the agreement. The second year will see employees’ wages rise by CA$0.20c, with an additional increase of CA$0.30c in the third and final year. All unionized staff will benefit from this wage increase.
Read about how Gateway Casinos donated money despite the crisis.
Dave Cassidy, President of Unifor Local 444, stated that the purpose of the new contract negotiations was for unionised workers to not only keep what they have, but also to improve on it. “Our goals were to make sure that we maintain things that we had. We needed some improvements because it was a new workplace. We were able to achieve everything we achieved. There were no concessions in this agreement.” Unifor Local 444 currently represents 150 workers from the casino in Chatham.
The upgraded agreement also includes an added bonus of CA$20 per visit for paramedical services such as massage therapy, and allows part-time workers to accumulate up to three days of lieu time. Cassidy said that a few more changes were made regarding working hours, the type of pick shifts, and the balancing of overtime and rest periods.
Mr Cassidy rejoiced over the outcome. “I want to say kudos to the employer that they recognize the staff and the gaming experience that they provide for people who come in there,” he said. “Our customer service is second to none in our casinos.”
Cascades Casino Chatham first closed down in March 2020 in compliance with the first wave of lockdown restrictions, and re-opened in limited capacity in October for invited guests only. It then had to suspend its operations again on December 26, 2020, and only just recently opened again in February when the government of Ontario gave the green light for some businesses to open their doors again. The casino is still functioning at a limited capacity, but the number of possible guests has been reduced from 50 to just 10.
Rob Mitchell, spokesperson of Gateway Casinos, addressed the negotiations and thanked the parties involved for supporting the agreement. In an email, he said that the new contract is an important step in Gateway’s goal to keep moving forward even in the hard times that still lie ahead. He outlined the gambling operator’s focus to be a recovery of the economy, the gaming industry and the company’s own businesses.
“We continue to work hard on every effort to get our operations re-opened in a safe and responsible manner, and to provide our guests in Chatham and all our Gateway casinos with the best possible customer experience we can within the limitations the COVID pandemic has imposed on all of us.”
On the part of the union, this is the first collective agreement since Gateway moved its operations from Dresden to Richmond Street back in 2019. The union also represents employees at Gateway Casinos in Sarnia and Point Edward. Mr Cassidy is hopeful that the approved contract will pave the way for better contracts for the other workers too.
“We’ve got a couple of things that are a little different, but … all the heavy lifting has been done with going through Chatham,” he said.
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