Windsor Casino Workers Reject Contract

Windsor, Ontario

May 5, 2004


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Windsor Casino Workers Reject Contract
Windsor Casino Workers Reject Contract
dated May 5, 2004

Windsor, Ontario
April 30, 2004

       After 28 days on the picket line the Casino Windsor workers, members of CAW Local 444 voted 57 per cent to reject a contract agreement from the Casino. The striking workers jammed into the Windsor arena to hear the details of the three year deal which featured a 50 cent wage increase in the 1st year, 40 cents in the second and 35 cents in the third, plus a $500 signing bonus. There were also gains in benefits and pensions, but money was not the issue. The company's demand that shift swapping between full and part time workers be stopped was.

       "I was going to vote yes until I saw the shift give away. I think it is bull shit."

       "What part timer is going to give me shifts when we are all struggling to do the same damn thing."

       Ken Lewenza, president of CAW Local 444 said following the vote that he was not totally surprised by the narrow rejection of the contract over shift swapping.

Ken Lewenza
Pres. CAW Local 444

       "We told the casino quite frankly that that was going to be troublesome and they rejected that outright. So some of the blame has got to be on the casino management team to again not understand that part timers want to be able to continue to take shifts from full timers and full timers are going to want to continue to take shifts from part timers to allow them more time off the job."
       "And that quite frankly is where casino Windsor misjudged the determination of our membership and we misjudged their reaction."

       This is the first time in Lewenza's memory that a contract recommended by a bargaining committee in Local 444 has been rejected by the membership.

Ken Lewenza
Pres. CAW Local 444

       "To all the workers on the strike committee, Don't get dejected. There's no other organization other than the labour movement that asks for the endorsement of its members. The corporation's decisions are done at the board. They don't ask their shareholders. We ask our members and we should be proud of that."

       Lewenza urged the strike committee put forward an even greater effort to meet the demands of their membership.

Ken Lewenza
Pres. CAW Local 444

       "You folks have spent more hours committed to a cause than anybody else in the last ten years. So I don't want you guys and ladies to get down. I want us to respect the membership's vote and I want us to work five times and ten times harder in the next week to try and get a collective agreement that meets those expectations, where we can get a ratification vote."

       Meanwhile the strike at Windsor Casino continues.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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