Windsor Casino Strike Rally

Windsor, Ontario

April 27, 2004


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Windsor Casino Strike Rally
Windsor Casino Strike Rally
dated April 27, 2004

Windsor, Ontario
April 25, 2004

       As the strike by the 3,500 CAW Local 444 casino workers at Windsor Casino in Windsor Ontario moved into its fourth week, thousands rallied to their cause. Despite the inclement weather, union leaders, politicians and the general public threw their support behind the workers demands for respect and fair treatment. Joe Comartin, NDP MP had this message for the Casino management.

Joe Comartin
NDP MP

       "If you want this to be a successful casino you've got to have your workers on side and you are not going to get it by disrespecting them."

       CAW Local 444 President Ken Lewenza, assured the rally that their solidarity will lead to eventual victory.

Ken Lewenza
Pres. Local 444

       "Sooner than later we will open, but we will not open up this casino again, with a concessionary contract that drives our rights and privileges backwards. We will move the agenda forward. We will improve on wages. We will improve on pensions and we will darn well improve on working conditions or we won't go back to work."

       CAW national president, Buzz Hargrove, says the key issue of the strike is management's lack of respect for the workers along with wages, scheduling, time off the job, health and safety and pension issues. He said the Ontario government, owners of the casino, should take a lesson from Donald Trump.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I never liked Donald Trump very well. But I think his message ought to go to the casino management from the government of Ontario; "You're not doing it. You're not meeting the test. You're fired."

       After the rally, Hargove said momentum is building to force management to negotiate.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "The threat of this rally today actually got the bargaining going over the last couple of days of last week, so hopefully, if the threat got them back to the table, the rally will send a strong message especially to the government who owns this casino that people want a settlement here and the community wants a settlement. There is absolutely no excuse for keeping these people on the street."

       Lewenza said the bargaining committee has a clear mandate from its members.

Ken Lewenza
Pres. CAW Local 444

       "The longer this thing takes the tougher it is going to be for Casino Windsor to put a collective agreement together because the message that our members told us today was" you're not going backwards Mr. Lewenza. You're not taking the bargaining committee backwards. You're going to move it forward." And we are going to do that."

       Meanwhile the picket lines remain up and support from the public continues to grow. Charie Virga, casino workers chairperson says morale is only getting stronger.

Charie Virga
Casino Windsor Chairperson

       "In an industry where there is tipping and non tipping there is a lot of divisiveness. This strike has brought these members together. They have made us tougher. They have given the bargaining committee the strength to go back at this casino."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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