Caesars Windsor Employees Reject Second Tentative Agreement and Prolong Strike
The Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino will remain closed following its employees’ rejection of a second tentative agreement designed to end the ongoing strike. The casino has been negotiating deals with its unionized employees in a bid to get them back to work, and this latest setback may complicate the already-strained relations.
Fighting for Higher Wages and Better Working Conditions
Employees of Caesars Windsor have cited low wages and poor working conditions as the reasons for their recent strike. According to union leaders, employees are complaining of long work hours and hostility from superiors and clients, among other work-related challenges. They also argue their salaries are neither worth the challenges they face at work nor enough to support comfortable living standards. A review of the casino revealed a majority of the workers earn about $13 (CAD$17) per hour.
A Second Attempt to Bridging Gaps
Caesars Windsor employees have been on strike for several months. Representatives of the Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino tried to end this standoff in April with an initial tentative deal that promised to increase the employees’ hourly wages, among other things. This deal was met with resistance by the employees’ union and was voted down by approximately 59 percent of the employees.
The second deal was formulated in May and presented to the Unifor Local 444 employees union on Friday. It, too, was met with resistance by approximately 53 percent of the employees who chose to vote it down. This deal made several promises, including an increase in the hourly wage by $2.25 over a period of the next four years. The new deal also promised a range of signing bonuses for different categories of employees. Full-time employees would get $1,600. Part-time employees would get $1,200. Casual employees would get $675.
The second tentative deal was apparently not much different than the first deal, according to the employees. The first deal promised to increase hourly wages by $1.75 over a period of the next three years.
“A Sad Day for Tourism” and for Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino
Gordon Orr, CEO for the Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, voiced his concerns about the failed negotiations. He said it was a sad day for tourism. According to Orr, the Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino is a leading tourist attraction in the area, and every one of the thousands of tourists who visits the casino makes a contribution to the economies of the region and the nation.
It is also undoubtedly a sad period for Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino, which has remained closed throughout the strike. The casino will remain closed indefinitely as both parties try to reach an agreement. The state-run Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. will also remain closed as its employees extend their strike. The casino was forced to cancel all bookings and postpone all performances for May, and the same measures may be taken for June and July. Surrounding hotels and casinos have been accommodating visitors in the meantime, but this has not done enough to cushion the tourism industry against the effects of the strike.
No Way Forward
The frustration caused by the agreement’s rejection has been felt by both parties. Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444, said he was unsure of the way forward and expressed frustration over the agreement’s rejection considering he had spent more than two days negotiating an agreement. Representatives of Caesars Windsor also expressed their frustration and said there were no plans to initiate further negotiations at the moment. Until the next time they meet, the casino will remain closed.
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