Unionized employees at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino rejected the second tentative agreement between Caesars Windsor and Unifor Local 444 on Friday, May 18. Subsequently, unionized employees of the state-run Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) venue will reportedly continue to strike and the property will remain temporarily shuttered until such time as a new tentative agreement is reached and ratified, according to Caesars Windsor.
Approximately 53% of the casino employees voted down the new deal offered on Friday, which according to some was not much different than the one presented to them the first week of April. In that vote, 59% of the casino employees rejected the tentative deal.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports that Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy, said, “I don’t know where we’re at right now.” He reportedly sounded surprised and defeated with the workers rejection of the deal he spent two-plus days negotiating.
For its part, Caesars Windsor said in a released statement that the property would remain shuttered and that at this time there are no plans to negotiate further.
In a statement, Caesars Entertainment Regional President Kevin Laforet, said, “We are incredibly disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote which was fully endorsed by both the Unifor National and Local 444 bargaining teams.”
“The agreement is more than fair and sustainable. I personally want to apologize for the continued inconvenience this causes our customers. The long-term effect on our business goes well-beyond revenue loss and is immeasurable.”
The CBC reported on Friday that documents given to staff regarding details in the new contract agreement show a wage increase of $2.25 over the next four years, up from the previous offer of $1.75 per-hour wage increase over three years, along with a signing bonus of $1,600, $1,200 and $675 for full-time, part-time and casual employees respectively.
The majority of staff at Ceasars Windsor currently reportedly earn around CAD$17 (US$13.40) per hour.
Commenting on the failed negotiations, CEO for Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, Gordon Orr, said, “It’s very unfortunate and a very sad day for the tourism industry.”
Orr explained that the Caesars Entertainment Corporation-operated casino is their number one tourist attraction and its closure affects people’s decision to visit the city located across the Detroit River from the U.S. city of Detroit. He went on to say that while surrounding hotels have accommodated some of Caesar Windsor’s clients, who due to the strike lost their reservations, canceled shows and fewer people to guide to other regional tourist spots has created a hole in area’s tourism industry.
As a result of the labor dispute, the Windsor, Ontario casino has postponed the remainder of its scheduled May concerts and canceled hotel reservations through May 31st.
Orr said, “When thousands of people go in there (Caesars Windsor) on a daily basis, they leave behind an economic footprint.” He added that the strike could additionally have an adverse effect on future bookings.
A similar dispute in 2004 reportedly led to a 42-day strike at the casino that has been in business since 1998.