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Casino Talks Resume
The union and management at Casino Windsor were to resume contract
negotiations today for the first time in almost a month.
Up to 3,500
members of the Canadian Auto Workers union Local 444 are in Day 27 of
a strike at the casino, which is losing estimated revenues of $1.4
million a day.
Provincial Ministry of Labour mediators Reg Pearson and John Miller
organized "exploratory talks" Thursday to see if the two sides could
be coaxed back to bargaining, which crumbled March 28 when the CAW
turned down hourly pay raises of $1.15 over three years.
"I would call it a pretty tough exchange but a constructive
exchange," said CAW Local 444 president Ken Lewenza. "The mediators
were pretty blunt in terms of the need to look at each other face to
face and try to narrow the differences."
Small versions of the two bargaining teams gathered for about two
hours of exploratory talks, which Lewenza called tense but
professional. Today’s session will be back to full contract
Lewenza says he remains hopeful but cautious.
"I told (Casino Windsor lawyer) George King clearly that we’ve got
a pretty wide gap to close here and he said the same," Lewenza said.
"We left there saying, ?Hey, we’re going to have discussions but we
shouldn’t be overly optimistic because there’s still a lot of work to
Lewenza said that even if talks started going well, it would likely
still take many days to hammer out an accord.
Lewenza said a mass demonstration in support of striking Casino
Windsor workers, planned for 11:30 a.m. Sunday on the Riverfront
Terrace across from the gaming hall, will go ahead, including an
address from CAW president Buzz Hargrove.
"The rally is absolutely on," Lewenza said. "A strong membership
will really send a message to Casino Windsor that we need to bargain a
fair agreement. Our members have to show the casino that they support
their bargaining committee."
Lewenza said the rally is generating tremendous response.
He warned workers not to get their hopes up too high yet, since the
union still wants better wages, a defined pension plan, shift
premiums, more benefits and improved contract language on a number of
entire article at:
The Windsor Star
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