VIDEO: Casino Workers Hit Picket Lines After Rejecting Deal

Caesars Windsor employees are officially on strike as of Friday morning.

Picket lines went up at 12:01am after workers voted down a proposed three year deal by a margin of 41%.

Unifor Local 444 represents the 2,300 casino employees.

Union president James Stewart says with nearly 2,000 members turning out to four voting sessions Thursday, they spoke loud and clear they didn't like what was being offered.

Stewart says workers are feeling frustrated.

"I think there's a lot they liked in the collective agreement, but ultimately there's a lot of anger, disrespect they feel that they've got from the employer over a period of time. We fully endorsed the agreement, but we fell short in being able to ratify it."

He says negotiating a casino contract presents some unique challenges.

"It's very different than a lot of workplaces. You have food and beverage, hotel service, the grounds keepers. It's a resort casino and there are so many classifications with so many issues that there is a lot of things that ultimately have to be resolved."


Unifor Local 444 members preparing for Caesars Windsor possible strike (by AM800's Peter Langille)

Stewart says hotel guests have until 11am Friday to check out.

"We're not going to interfere with our patrons and our customers. Our casino members love the patrons, they love he customers that come to the casino. This argument is not with the patrons and they were clear about that as well when we talked to them. We're going to respect that and allow them to leave up until their regular check out time of 11am."

If approved, workers would have received a $1.50 wage increase over the life of the contract, signing bonuses and pension increases.

There's no word yet as to when contract talks might resume.



In a statement sent out by Caesars Windsor, Regional President Kevin Laforet said, "We are very disappointed in the outcome of today's vote. We felt the agreement was fair and sustainable. We will be meeting with Unifor to discuss next steps. I personally want to apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers."

The statement goes on to say the Johnny Reid concert scheduled for Friday night has been postponed while all future shows will remain scheduled on their original date until further notice.