VIDEO: Strike Averted At Caesars Windsor
The slot machines are still rolling at Caesars Windsor after a last minute tentative deal was reached between the company and its 2,300 unionized employees.
Unifor Local 444 represents the unionized workers and had 98% backing to go on strike if a deal wasn't reached. The strike deadline was set for 11:59pm on April 3.
Local 444 president James Stewart says despite the talks coming down to the wire, the relationship between the union and the casino hasn't suffered.
"No it's not strained, but it's tough when you get to the point like right now when the arguments are fresh, it's hard not to take some of it personal, but at the end of the day you have to recognize — and this is in any type of bargaining — the employer isn't there to give their money away," says Stewart.
Caesars Windsor president and CEO, Kevin Laforet, released a statement stressing the casino is open for business as usual after the tentative deal was reached.
"We would like to commend Unifor Local 444 and the entire bargaining team for their respectful and productive efforts resulting in an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both parties," says Laforet.
Stewart points to monetary issues as the main hang-up holding up talks.
"When you're talking about monetary, I'm talking about the wages, the benefits and the pension. Yes, absolutely. That's been the whole problem over the course of the last few days and especially in the last couple hours," says Stewart.
He paints a stressful picture as the negotiations creeped closer to the deadline as workers would still have to secure their areas before walking off the job.
"It was problematic for us that you're working right to [the strike deadline] — people are passionate and they're angry that there's not a deal, they want some security. We worry about what's going to happen — are they securing their assets? Is there going to be management, maybe, that potentially is upset that it's happening and maybe not letting somebody go?"
While the union hasn't made the ratifcation date official, Stewart says the vote is tentatively set for Friday at the Fogolar Furlan Club.
Caesars Windsor is taking reservations again for the hotel now that the strike has been averted for the time being.
— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi