Union: Let’s see books
Jon Manchester - Sep 13, 2018 - Biz Releases

Photo: Jon Manchester

The union representing striking casino workers in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Kamloops says Gateway Casinos has refused to release company financials.

The BCGEU cites lack of transparency as the reason for a breakdown in talks.

Monday night, Gateway issued a statement saying mediation talks had failed.

“When the union asked us to return to mediation, we had hoped this meant the union would come to the table with more reasonable expectations. Unfortunately, these past few days of mediation have resulted in further disappointment,” the company said.

It said it had presented a monetary package that proposed wage increases from seven to 19 per cent.

But the BCGEU says the company refused to back up claims it can’t afford the union’s wage proposals.

“Gateway says they can’t afford to pay our members in the Okanagan the living wage we are asking for. But, when we asked them to prove it by showing the mediator the company’s financials, they refused,” said union president Stephanie Smith.

“How can our members trust Gateway’s claims when they refuse to let a third-party mediator verify them?”

“Gateway’s most recent offer is neither fair nor reasonable. It would keep our members … in the Thompson-Okanagan earning well below wages casino workers are making on the Coast for the same work, and it would mean most of our members’ wages would still be hovering around minimum wage.”

The company’s statement said: “A 24 per cent increase in wages in the first year is clearly in excess of any reasonable wage increase and simply not competitive for any business, including ours.”

About 675 casino workers went on strike June 29. They work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.

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