·  Media release

Georgian Downs Casino Employees Join United Steelworkers

INNISFIL, Ont. - Employees at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, which may soon be privatized by the Ontario government, have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

In a vote Wednesday supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the casino employees voted by a two-thirds majority in favour of joining the USW. The USW now represents 204 employees at the gaming facility in Innisfil, south of Barrie.

"We congratulate these employees for the remarkable determination and character they have shown," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"Their mettle was tested by a concerted effort by their employer to dissuade them from joining a union. In the days leading up to the vote, the employer held 11 meetings with employees to disseminate anti-union rhetoric," Warren noted.

"It is to their credit that these employees were not intimidated nor deterred from standing up for their rights. They voted for their right to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of their jobs. They voted to give themselves a real voice to seek fairness in their workplace, now and in the future."

Much like their colleagues at other gaming facilities in Ontario, employees at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs have serious concerns about the implications of the provincial government's privatization plans, Warren said.

"These hard-working employees are legitimately concerned that neither the government nor the OLG has adequately addressed the important questions and issues they have raised about their status in the event the casino is sold to a private operator," Warren said.

The USW expects the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) to begin the process of negotiating a collective agreement as soon as possible, he added.

"The USW will have ‘successor rights' if the facility is privatized and the employees' rights and interests will be better protected as a result," Warren said.

"It's now incumbent on the OLG to recognize its obligation to negotiate a fair collective agreement with its employees."

In the last two months employees at OLG Casino Thunder Bay and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie also have voted to join the USW.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 519-504-9099
Robin Saini, USW Staff Representative, 416-544-5975, rsaini@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221,bgallagher@usw.ca

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