Brantford Casino lockout on its second week
Unionized workers at Brantford Casino in Canada have been off the job since September 18. That’s when talks between the workers and the casino broke down.
The issue between the two concerns the fate of the workers’ pension plan if and when the casino is sold to private interests. Currently, the workers are included in the Public Sector Pension Plan. However, once the casino is sold, they will no longer be eligible to join the said plan. The workers want a plan similar to the one they currently have.
But things don’t seem to be moving forward as everyone had hoped.
The lockout is now on its second week with no clear end in sight. But the workers remain hopeful.
“We remain willing and able to return to the bargaining table at any time,” President of Unifor Local 504 (Know the group in detail: http://www.cawlocal.ca/504/), Dave Reston, said. He added they have given Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) dates, but they have not received any response so far.
An OLG spokesperson denied receiving any requests to return to bargaining from them. But they are hoping all issues will soon be resolved.
OLG admits what is happening right now is hurting not just the employees and the casino, but also the city. Brantford has been provided with funds from the casino to be utilized in different ways—as grants to organizations and foundations and as support to the growth of post-secondary education in the city.
But with the ongoing stand-off, the city is expecting a significant drop in its share of the casino’s revenues.
Reston affirmed there are fewer patrons visiting the casino. “When we explain our position, when people hear what we have to say, most of them, I’d say about 80 percent, turn around. They understand what’s going on and are supportive,” Reston said.