Casino & Union to resume mediation

It’s mediation time again for Gateway Casinos, operator of Playtime Casino in Downtown Kelowna, and the BC Government Employees Union(BCGEU), which represents close to 700 casino workers in the Okanagan.  Mediation has been confirmed for Monday July 9th – Wednesday July 11th.

Gayle Furgala is part of the bargaining committee for the BCGEU and she had noted previously, “We would like a living wage and most of my workers in the casino do not make a living wage.  Some make as low as $11/hour and the living wage in Kelowna is $18/hour.”

Kelowna casino employees took job action on Friday at 3:01PM and have been on the picket line since. 

BCGEU President, Stephanie Smith visited the workers today.  “We’ve got picket lines here, sometimes we’ll have rallies, other unions have been showing up to show their support, we’ve been getting lots of community support.  This is serious business.  We really do want to try and get an agreement, but at the same time, we’re also trying to ensure that our members feel that what they’re doing right now is worthwhile.”

Aside from ongoing contract negotiations, Smith says the casino workers have another request from their employer.  “Every year Gateway Casino and the BCGEU members put on a charity BBQ(on Canada Day) for the Children’s Hospital.  This year, because of the strike, the casino was not willing to purchase the supplies.  The BCGEU purchased all the supplies, the BBQ went off as planned, and now there’s a challenge to Gateway to match the money that was raised by our BCGEU members.”

While workers are striking, Playtime Casino in Kelowna will operate with reduced hours and limited services.