USW and Playtime Gaming talks stall

Union says the main sticking points in the bargaining are wage and term

Negotiations between the United Steel Workers and Campbell River’s Chances Casino have ground to a halt.

United Steel Workers (USW) Local 1-1937, represents the employees of Chances Casino, and Playtime Gaming who owns and operates the facility. Rick Wangler, V.P. and spokesman for the union, said Playtime has refused to respond to the union’s latest counter offer in the negotiations, prompting Local 1-1937 to call for a strike vote from its members in an attempt to get everyone back to the table.

“The company is, by their own admission, making a healthy return on investment,” Wangler said. “From our perspective they have plenty of money to be able to support living wages for its workers.”

Wangler said the main sticking points in the bargaining are wage and term.

“Many of our members are paid minimum wage or just above, even after several years of service,” he said, adding that Playtime wants a four-year agreement, while USW would prefer a two-year term. “We have proposed a two year agreement as we are concerned about a long-term first agreement with a company that refuses to treat their workers fairly and with parity with other employees of the company doing the same type of work.” Wangler was referring to the staff in the Abbotsford Playtime-owned facility.

Playtime Gaming released a statement in response to the stalled talks, which said, “Playtime has been bargaining in good faith with the union in Campbell River since April 2014 with a view to concluding a first collective agreement which is fair to both our employees and the employer.”

Playtime said they have reached agreement on approximately 95 per cent of the terms of the agreement, and that they, “are disappointed that the union feels this time that [a strike vote] is preferable to providing us with a more realistic proposal upon which the bargaining process could continue,” and, “have advised the union that we remain ready, willing and able to meet to continue bargaining in good faith.”