ORILLIA – The Casino Rama union, representing its employees, are taking their gaming facility’s operator, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, to court over what it’s calling an appalling decision to discontinue employees’ health benefits during the current pandemic. The Casino Rama workers union represents approximately 1,000 employees.
The union, Unifor Local 1090, is represented by President, Corey Dalton and he was tasked with presenting the difficult news to union members, “Gateway’s employees will be among the only casino workers in Ontario who will have their benefits discontinued [beyond June 30].”
According to Dalton, he’s been negotiating with Gateway Casinos and Entertainment for roughly seven weeks, with him urging Gateway to consider exploring the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). If accepted, this program would have provided union members with more than what the current Canada Emergency Response Benefit plan is currently providing.
However, according to Dalton, Gateway countered with a proposal providing the CEWS plan and extending health benefits beyond June 30 but only if employees were willing to cover 100% of the costs. On top of this, there were 15 other concessions Dalton claimed the union would need to agree on before an agreement could be made.
In response to this proposal by Gateway, Dalton and the union are taking legal action against Gateway. “We have filed a grievance for a violation of the Employment Standards Act. We will pursue the grievance and under Section 49 of the Labour Relations Act, which is the fastest method of resolving the dispute,” says Dalton. This legal ruling, in Dalton’s estimation, could take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
With the grievance filed, it remains to be seen who will win this legal battle.