Striking CAW Members Picket OLG At Woodbine During Queens Plate
June 22, 2008
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Assistant to CAW President
"It's Queen's Plate Day and it's about a $40 million day for the employer. What we are trying to do here is to slow everything down and send a message to the employer that we want to get a collective agreement, but they have got to get the issue of massive concessions off the table."
The workers have been negotiating for months with a corporation that has an annual income of over $7 billion. CAW national representative Brian Stevens said this company doesn't need concessions.
CAW National Representative
"This is not a sector that is in a crisis. The government should be using this as an economic tool as well to support the communities. Which, by the way, is something that they promised each of the communities years ago, when they brought slots and casinos to their own communities, that they would be providing good opportunities with good paying jobs, decent jobs, and full time jobs."
Meanwhile the workers on the line are solid in their determination to win this strike. Woodbine Slots security officer, Rickey Neal says the members are in this for the long haul.
Woodbine Slots Security Officer
"We have been out here for three weeks and we're going to be out here until it is done, until we win. We are not giving up. We have to fight for what's right for the people that are here and for the people that are in there because they are unfair to them as well."
According to Cristina Cracchiolo, Unit Chair at the Brantford Casino CAW Local 397, and Shirley Tobin from Brantford, this fight is not just about money.
Unit Chair Brantford Casino
"They don't want to look at any of the seniority or abide by it. Basically that's the big issue where a lot of the part timers won't be eligible for benefits. They are trying to bring in contract workers which we eliminated in the last contract. And that is just their way of eliminating benefits for people.
"They're wanting us to step back and that is just impossible. We can not let them get away with not having our own rights protected. To me I feel like that's what they are doing. They are actually attacking our right to raise and maintain a decent family life."
Throughout the day the cars were backed up at all the entrances into the Woodbine Raceway and Slots site. Each car was delayed only a few minutes but the cumulative effect was a wait of over an hour and a half to get into the site. The union has now moved to apply pressure on the province who own OLG to have them intercede in the bargaining.
Assistant to CAW President
"Now we have a new minister in charge Mr. Smitherman. We're hoping we can get to him sooner than later and say "What are you doing here?" This is about ensuring we have decent jobs. But also over 50% of the people here are women. And it is about dignity for the women workers in our province."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."