Workers at OLG Slots at Woodbine Ready to Strike

Toronto – Over 400 workers employed at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) corporation are set to strike. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union that represents these workers, requested a No Board Report from the Minister of Labour, who has set the legal strike/lock-out date of Friday, July 14, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. No meetings have been scheduled prior to this strike/lock-out deadline.

“We’ve seen the OLG lockout workers at Brantford, Sudbury, Rideau Carleton and at Woodbine,” states Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President. “This potential labour disruption is consistent with the pattern that has emerged with the OLG’s privatization scheme and puts into question their sincerity in negotiating a fair agreement with their workers.”

Much of the workforce is at, or close to, the Liberal government’s proposed minimum wage increase of $15. Approximately 60 per cent of the workforce is part-time, with precarious hours. Despite the Liberal government’s claim to address precarious work, the OLG, a crown corporation, is part of the problem. With over half a billion dollars in profit last year alone, the OLG’s Woodbine site is the most profitable facility in Ontario and yet its workers are struggling to make ends meet.

“We’re seeing the Liberal government selling off this valuable asset to a private operator with the bidding process open right now for a 20-year lease,” says Local President Theo Lagakos. “Meanwhile the workers are being kicked out of a good public pension and we are left wondering about our future.”

This current round of bargaining began in late October 2016, with a tentative agreement reached in February 2017. The tentative agreement was rejected by the workers. The parties met again prior to applying for conciliation in May and then again with the assistance of a conciliation officer in June. Workers voted overwhelmingly on May 12 and 13, 2017, to support a strike if the OLG did not come to the table with a new reasonable offer.

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