The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced on Friday that it was able to reach an agreement in principle with Casino de Montreal on the behalf of the venue’s dealers. A total of 545 croupiers in the union have been without an agreement in place since April 1, 2020. The group went on strike on May 21.

Details of the Agreement

After securing the deal, the CUPE has yet to comment on the terms of the agreement. It will be presented to members during a general meeting for consideration within the next few weeks. In a statement, CUPE union advisor Jean-Pierre Proulx said that the union and management negotiating committees are satisfied with the deal and confident that it will be agreed upon by the casino dealers.

Even though the employees were on strike for a few months, most entertainments at the casino continued. The dealers asked the casino for improvements to the daily schedule to reduce injuries that are related to repetitive work.

The casino operator behind the venue, Loto-Quebec, said they had not observed increased injuries among its dealers. In the process, the union criticized the employer for actively preparing to pay new recruits 90% of the lowest salary scale. Management said that the entry-level salary is more than 20% over the reference market.

Over the next few weeks, we will hopefully get an idea of what was negotiated for the employees and what they can expect to change as they return to work.

Long Strike Period

It took some time in between the initial strike and when the casino agreement was reached. The union dealers went on strike on May 31 and were on strike for over two months before terms were agreed upon.

At the time, Loto-Quebec said that everything was running smoothly despite the strike. Slots, table games, and restaurants all continued to offer services. It was only the poker room that remained shut down.

The casino operator stated it was disappointed with the dealer’s union as it continued to maintain the strike when the necessary elements to reach a deal were available.

Along with asking for changes to the schedule, the union would like to see funds from services used to pay for health and education needs. The employees want to help the casino be successful but not at the risk of their own health.

Employees asked for a 15-minute break to avoid injury, and the casino was not willing to provide payment for the break. It will be interesting to see if this component was part of the new deal and if both sides compromised.