Casino Woodbine members win historic collective agreement

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members working at Casino Woodbine in Toronto ratified a new collective agreement that includes historic gains for its members and sets a strong precedent for the entire gaming sector.

Victories include sweeping wage increases, improvements to their pension plan and initiatives to address precarious work at the casino.

Members ratified their contract with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation (GCGC) on August 15, 2019.

This was the first round of negotiations with the new private sector employer, after the Ontario government transferred the gaming facility to GCGC last year.

Members of PSAC directly chartered local 533 took a stand early on and delivered their bargaining team a strong strike mandate prior to negotiations to pressure the employer to come to the table.

With 18 gaming units in Ontario, many of which had previously settled agreements with concessions, Woodbine members were once again left with a bargaining trend that wasn’t in their favour. Yet with determination and a strong mobilization strategy, members secured a concession-free agreement with significant achievements which buck the trend in the gaming sector.

“I am so proud of our members who stood together to pressure this employer and secure a fantastic agreement that raises the bar for the entire gaming sector,” states Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President. “We were able to achieve major wins, including addressing precarious work by adding a clause in this agreement to have a minimum of 50% of the positions in the bargaining unit be full time!”

Some of the highlights of this four-year agreement, which expires on March 31, 2023, include: 

  • In the first year, flat rate increases of between 3.1% and 8.7% and the creation of four Dealer levels that will result in increases ranging from 3.7% to 25.1% to the Dealer rate of pay followed by an across the board 2.0% wage increase in 2020 and 2021, with a 2.25% in 2022.
  • Four local union representatives, including the local president, will be released full time from their regular duties, fully paid by the employer. A fifth union rep will be released when the number of members in the bargaining unit reaches 1,300, then an additional union rep will be released full time for each additional 500 members. The local president will be paid an hourly rate of pay equal to the highest rate of pay in the bargaining unit and all others released will be paid that rate minus $1.50.
  • Dealers will now be paid for 8 hours for each shift (previously 7.5) and receive more frequent rest breaks
  • Improved pension provisions starting in year four of the collective agreement
  • Increased bereavement leave
  • Improvements to part-time scheduling options
  • Access to the employer’s education reimbursement program
  • Creation of a joint women’s advocate program

“Our union has shown that we are leaders in the gaming sector, and we will continue to raise standards for all workers in this province,” added DeSousa.

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August 19, 2019