Casino Rama has struck a new three-year collective agreement with its unionized employees.
Five day of negotiations concluded with a pact between Unifor Local 1090 employees and Gateway Casinos, which operates Casino Rama and several other casinos.
Greg Weaver, Unifor's chairperson for Casino Rama and second Vice President for Unifor Local 1090, says the deal "monetarily eclipsed" the recent collective agreement at Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino.
“It’s huge for our employees,” he said. “During this pandemic, everyone has been worried about the cost of living being raised.”
Weaver says it was imperative to have some "monetary security" over the next three years. The pay increases will help employees recover from the multiple lockdowns that left them out of work for long periods of time, he said.
According to Weaver, the new deal includes:
- General wage increase of 9.5% over three years;
- Skilled trades wage increase of 15% over three years;
- Significantly shortened wage progression scale;
- Benefit improvements;
- Reduced premiums for part-time staff by 50%;
- Increase to vision and paramedical coverage for all;
- Improved bereavement benefits;
- Increased banquet event order gratuities; and
- Significant improvements to layoff and recall provisions.
While most employees were happy with the increases in pay, Weaver said some were upset with the agreement as it eliminates the downtown Orillia shuttle bus for employees and the employee cafeteria.
“That’s a problem for probably 30 or so employees that use the bus daily,” Weaver said. “They are all going to have to find other methods of transportation. Some may be forced to resign because of it which is a problem for us.”
Weaver says the relationship between Unifor and Casino Rama is "fairly strong" after striking the deal.
While negotiating the new deal has been completed, Unifor and Casino Rama will continue to constantly work together to improve the workplace for its employees, he told OrilliaMatters.
“We are always pushing for more employment and more full-time,” Weaver said. “That’s always going to be a point of contention for us.”
Robert Mitchell, the director of communications and public affairs for Gateway Casinos, says the company is pleased that employees have ratified the new collective agreement at Casino Rama.
“We want to thank the Unifor bargaining committee for their hard work and cooperation to reach the deal,” he said in a written statement to OrilliaMatters. “We look forward to continuing to offer the excellent customer service that has made Casino Rama Resort one of Ontario’s premier entertainment destinations.”