Casino Montreal continues to be troubled by problems, as management informs that its croupiers are still on strike. The strike began more than a week ago and staff members are still unhappy with the state of negotiations between Loto-Québec and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The syndicate claims that the casino has lost profits equivalent to what the croupiers are claiming.
The strike officially began on Saturday, May 21, 2022, and the casino’s 521 croupiers are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, or CUPE. According to the union, the previous collective agreement expired on April 1, 2020, and since then workers have been left behind, and there has been no progress in contract talks.
Poker room still closed
On Saturday, Loto-Québec announced that despite the ongoing strike at the casino property, it is still operational. Gaming tables, catering equipment, slow machines and live shows, are operational, while the poker room remains closed. Earlier, the state-owned company released a statement expressing its disappointment with the strike, as the past two years have been quite tedious for the casino.
Since the emergence of the unprecedented situation, the casino has been closed and reopened numerous times. For example, last December Quebec once again shut down gambling facilities across the province. It’s only the end of February 2022, that the casino was allowed to reopen. Then in March, the property removed some of its health and safety protocols, bringing it closer to normal.
CUPE union representative Jean-Pierre Proulx said that the Montreal casino brings tons of funds in public coffers that cover health and education services. He pointed out that the union wants to continue to do its part and provide money for the budget, but staff members cannot do this at the expense of their health. The union specifies that currently, the employer does not want to pay 15 minutes of break.
Employees are demanding 30 minutes of paid breaks for every hour worked, due to an alleged increase in physical problems on their shifts. However, the Crown agency responded that it didn’t notice a bump in such health problems. On top of that, the union also accuses the Crown of wanting to pay new recruits at 90% of the lowest pay scale.
In response to this, the Crown pointed out that the entry-level salary is more than 20% of that in the current market. The employer has stated that it wants a responsible negotiated agreementand implying that these negotiations should have similar parameters to what has been agreed upon by the same CUPE-affiliated employment entities in its other casinos such as Casino Lac-Leamy.
In January of this year, Casino du Lac Leamy staff members and Loto-Québec agreed on a new collective agreement. CUPE 3892 which represents 300 employees of the property successfully negotiated better conditions for its members. The new conditions grant a salary increase of 2% for 2020, as well as 3% for 2021 and 2022 respectively, a raise of 2.5% for 2023 and 2% for 2024.
Source: “Casino de Montreal croupiers’ strike continues, poker rooms remain closed”, CTV NewsMay 28, 2022