CAW Casino Workers Ratify New Three Year Contract

July 30, 2008

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July 30, 2008
       For 60 days nearly 900 Canadian Auto Workers members employed at the Casino Brantford, the Slots at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and the Slots at Sudbury Downs manned the picket lines in their fight against concession demands by their employer, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.
       On July 30, after long and at times boisterous ratification meetings in Brantford and Toronto, the workers voted 59 per cent in favour in Brantford and Toronto. In Sudbury the vote was 69 per cent in favour.
       The union was able to force the company to withdraw all of its concession demands, and get improved language entrenching seniority rights according to Hemi Mitic, assistant to CAW president Buzz Hargrove.

Hemi Mitic
Assistant to CAW President

       "If they need ten people to be trained they will select those people, if there are eleven people that try to apply, they have to select those people by seniority. That's not happened before and that is critical for the future."
       The union also won seniority rights for part timers applying for full time openings.

Hemi Mitic
Assistant to CAW President

       "We did make significant improvement which means people with seniority are going to go from the part time to the full time jobs by seniority. There are still going to be some factors that people have to get to and the training aspect is one of them."
       Mitic said the workers' solidarity helped the bargaining committee to win more power for the workers in regards to work schedules.

Hemi Mitic
Assistant to CAW President

       "What we need; and I think what we have got in the collective agreement, and that is enough flexibility for our part timers and full timers, to give away shifts; to get the time off they need."
       CAW National Representative Brian Stevens outlined the details of the contract improvements including a signing bonus in the first year.

Brian Stevens
CAW National Rep.

       "Full time employees will get $2,225 and part time employees will get $1,495. So there is no pro rating. There's none of that. It's just full time get $2,225 and the part timers get $1,495."
       There were also wage increases in the second and third year of the agreement.
       CAW Local 397 president Doug Aitcheson said the bargaining was extremely difficult and the solidarity on the picket line played a key role.

Doug Aitcheson
CAW local 397 President

       "We went seven days straight. The last couple of days we are going on one and two hours sleep a day. One time we went 26 hours straight without a break. Your committee has worked hard for you. And I can say as the president of your local, they have worked hard, looked out for your best interest."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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