Nearly 400 workers at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s head office have chosen to unionize and join the PSAC family.
This comes after nearly 6 years of wage freezes and insecurity due to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) Corporation’s move to privatize the industry.
Work terms and conditions of the Sault Ste. Marie employees will now be secure until negotiations for a fair collective agreement are complete.
“These workers now have the collective power to negotiate with their employer - one of the many benefits of belonging to a union,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario REVP. “By joining PSAC, these workers will have access to resources and expertise to assist during the transition by the OLG towards privatization.”
- Workers at OLG Sault Ste. Marie had previously tried to organize with PSAC in 2013. Unfortunately, the campaign was unsuccessful after the final vote was narrowly defeated.
- This summer, after waiting the one-year grace period needed before a new organizing drive could take place, workers reached out to PSAC to attempt a second drive.
- This August, motivated by wage freezes (which extended beyond the provincial freeze being lifted) and the OLG’s decision to privatize, employees successfully cast their certification vote.
- Last week, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) granted PSAC an interim certificate to represent OLG’s Sault Ste. Marie workers.
- A final certificate will be issued once 45 ballots, disputed by the employer, are settled by the OLRB.
Attempts at privatization
PSAC has consistently opposed privatization of the Ontario Lottery Gaming Corporation. A poll taken in October 2014 found 70% of Ontario voters disapprove of OLG’s plan to sell the lottery business to the private sector.
A timeline of privatization attempts
- The OLG plans to announce their selection of a private operator later this year and will begin the transition through 2016.
- Fortunately, now that workers have unionized, successor rights will be enforced by the OLRB, granting protections for these workers through a continuation of bargaining rights when a public or private business is sold, transferred or divested. The collective bargaining rights of all Sault Ste. Marie OLG workers will now be protected whether the OLG becomes privatized or not.
Currently, PSAC represents OLG workers at Woodbine and Rideau Carleton.