Ontario’s Great Blue Heron Casino set to strike Sept. 1

Union is calling on province to prevent the use of replacement workers
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 09/01/2011

The union representing employees at Great Blue Heron Casino is hoping the Ontario government will mandate a complete shutdown of the facility if workers strike or are locked out on Sept. 1, 2011.

UPDATE: Agreement reached at Great Blue Heron Casino

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union president Ken Lewenza wants to prevent the use of replacement workers at the Port Perry, Ont. casino, something he says management has already begun interviewing people for.

"The government of Ontario, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario must move quickly to halt operations at the facility, should there be a labour dispute," says Lewenza. "Abusing workers' rights in the name of charity is unacceptable and the province, along with the AGCO and OLG, must put a stop to it immediately.”

The Great Blue Heron Casino has also opposed union attempts to file for conciliation to reach a new collective agreement, according to the union. Lewenza says that an employer fighting conciliation is normally an indication that the company is trying to incite a labour dispute.

"This facility is not strictly a business that donates to charity, it's also a profit-making entity,” says Lewenza, claiming the bargaining committee has tabled proposals within the employer's ability to pay. “Our members have been instrumental in the success of this workplace and that must be reflected in the next collective agreement."

CAW Local 1090 represents more than 790 full-time and part-time workers at the casino and has been in negotiations for more than a month.

Casino management has not commented.

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