Workers at Casino Rama, one of Ontario's largest casino resorts, have voted overwhelmingly to become members of Unifor. They now join thousands of gaming and hospitality employees across Canada who are already represented by the union.
"We are thrilled with the results," said Anna Joudrey, who has worked at Casino Rama for ten years and been an active participant in the campaign to bring the union to the casino.
Many workers have noted that while they value their jobs and the role the casino plays in their community, they've felt that workplace standards have gone downhill in recent years and are uncertain about the future of their jobs at the casino.
"When I heard about this campaign I decided to go to a drop-in to get more information and I was struck by the sense that this was all about workers coming together to have a collective voice at work. It was incredibly positive and for once I felt that we might have a shot at improving our workplace," said Joudrey.
The vote took place on Thursday at Casino Rama with oversight from the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and the count took place this afternoon in Toronto at the OLRB office. The new bargaining unit of roughly 1,700 workers includes dealers, cashiers, slot workers, food and beverage staff, environmental services, finance, gift shop attendants, hotel, valet, entertainment and other staff.
"Strong and healthy communities are built on good jobs. We are committed to ensuring that Casino Rama continues to provide good jobs for families in the area, and to help workers have a say in what the future looks like for jobs at Casino Rama," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Work will now begin to negotiate a first contract at the casino resort northeast of Orillia. The gaming industry in Ontario is in a significant time of transformation, as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) undergoes its modernization plan.
"Unifor has the broad membership and experience needed to represent the workers' needs, and those of their community," said Dias. "Unifor is the largest union in the gaming sector, and we look forward to working with Casino Rama workers and management to ensure a better future at Casino Rama."
The workers join more than 15,000 hospitality workers, including more than 7,000 working at casinos, already represented by Unifor across Canada. Unifor also represents workers at Caesars Windsor, Great Blue Heron Gaming, Manitoba Lotteries Corp and other gaming sites, as well as several hotels across Canada.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.