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Casino Workers Reject Latest Offer
The doors at Casino Windsor remain closed this weekend after striking
workers ignored their bargaining committee’s recommendation Friday and
voted 57 per cent to turn down a tentative collective agreement.
During a somewhat confrontational ratification vote at Windsor Arena,
workers rejected hourly pay increases of $1.25 over three years, a $500
signing bonus, an extra paid day off, as well as improvements to health,
disability and pension benefits.
Up to 3,500 blackjack dealers, change attendants, security guards and
other casino staff are now on their 29th day on the picket line with no
end in sight and no talks were planned. The casino’s doors have been
shut since April 2.
"It’s a tough day for CAW Local 444, a tough day for Casino Windsor
and a tough day for the community," said a somewhat subdued Ken Lewenza,
president of CAW Local 444.
"I’m a little surprised and I’m discouraged," Lewenza said. "But at
the end of the day, our union will continue to work on behalf of our
members and respect their wishes."
Lewenza spoke briefly to union members shortly after announcing the
results of the roughly 2,900-vote count, thanking them for their effort
over the last month and encouraging them to remain positive.
The average pay for casino workers is $15.53 an hour.
Casino Windsor vice-president of corporate affairs Keith Andrews said
he was surprised at the contract rejection.
"This is a bit surreal," he said. "You work so hard, it’s taxing on
everyone, and with the help of a mediator you negotiate a fair agreement
to get unanimous support from the union bargaining committee, and it’s
"The real losers are the customers and Casino Windsor and the city of
Windsor," he said. "We have the three Detroit casinos enjoying the
increased business they’re getting right now."
Officials had hoped to resume operations Saturday and woo tourists
back to the border casino.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive