Great Blue Heron Action Centre Opens

Port Perry, Ontario

December 17, 2003


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Great Blue Heron Action Centre Opens
Great Blue Heron Action Centre Opens
dated December 17, 2003

Port Perry, Ontario
December 16, 2003
       You can't miss it driving down the main street in Port Perry, Ontario, the Great Blue Heron Action Centre. Established by the CAW National Union to provide an operating base for the 800 employees of the Great Blue Heron Casino just outside Port Perry, who have been locked in a struggle to get the casino operators to the bargaining table for almost a year.
       The Action Centre was officially opened by CAW National President Buzz Hargrove.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We decided we have to show a face in the community to make sure the community understood that we were supporting the workers and that this wasn't a fight about aboriginal rights, it was a fight, a traditional fight, about whether or not workers have the right to collective bargaining."

       On Friday, Dec. 12th the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled this was about collective bargaining and not about aboriginal rights.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "The decision on Friday by the Ontario Labour Relations Board was an absolutely crucial decision. It rejected all of the arguments that this is about constitutional rights of aboriginal people. This is about collective bargaining and the lack of respect for the collective bargaining process for workers."
       "So we are now going to move ahead. We have asked the Minister to appoint a conciliator, and we have asked the company to return to the bargaining table or go to the bargaining table and let's get at the bargaining."

       Hargrove warned however that the road ahead could still be a long one.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I don't want to kid anybody, given the frustration they have created so far, I will not be surprised if they try to delay this even further. But the door is slowly closing on the appeal process and they are going to have to get down to collective bargaining and we look forward to doing that."

       Despite the long delay the casino workers are solidly behind the union, according Kim Dalton of the Great Blue Heron casino bargaining committee.

Kim Dalton
Great Blue Heron
Bargaining Committee

       "They've been remaining strong. They have been very solid. And it has been a very long, long road and it is not over yet but you know pride and respect it is just around the corner. I want everybody to be proud of where they work, who they work for, and proud of themselves. And most of all proud of being the newest member of the CAW."

       The Action Centre will serve as an information and co-ordination centre for all the casino workers including the new hires. It is open 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, and can be reached by calling 905-985-0602.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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