Casino workers rally in Kelowna

Employees of Gateway Casinos from Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Kamloops gathered in Kelowna Tuesday morning to push for higher wages.

Negotiations between the company and the bargaining committee began back in January, but stopped abruptly in March, prompting Tuesday’s demonstration.

So far, over 95 percent of all of Gateway Casinos’ employees have signed a petition to increase wages to the industry standard.

“This is a profitable company; Gateway Casinos does well,” says BC Government and Service Employees Union President Stephanie Smith.  “We think that these workers who provide that profit for this company should share some of that.”

A representative of the company initially agreed to meet with the bargaining committee at the BCGEU office in Kelowna, where the demonstration was taking place.

Those plans changed when the rep asked to meet with the committee at a different location: the Holiday Inn on Highway 97.

Upon arriving, members of the committee were told that the rep was now refusing to meet with them and had already left the hotel. He would, however, meet with them the following day, as long as there were no demonstrators at the site of the meeting.

Smith says it’s frustrating, and that a peaceful demonstration shouldn't scare anybody off.

“I’d really like to see the employer come out and meet with their members to take the petition and hear their message.”