More than 130 employees in five departments – table games, slots, cage, count and guest services – at Elements Casino in View Royal plan to join the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).
Paul Finch, treasurer of the BCGEU, said workers voted to unionize in order to negotiate better working conditions.
“It’s clear their priorities are the wages and the benefits in the sector – and scheduling,” he noted. “We’ve seen this trend across the entire industry and also inside Great Canadian Gaming Corporation,” he added.
Two other Great Canadian Gaming Corporation casinos, River Rock in Richmond and Vancouver’s Hard Rock, joined BCGEU in recent years. Their bargaining committees as a result were able to negotiate “superior” contracts, Finch said.
“We believe that [Elements] workers would be able to do the same,” he added.
“These workers have clearly made a choice to stand together to make improvements in their worksite,” Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU, said in a statement.
“The message is strong – casino workers feel they belong in our union,” she said.
In an email statement to Black Press Media, a Great Canadian Gaming Corporation spokesperson said, “Elements Casino Victoria respects and recognizes the decision made by team members who voted in favour of joining the [BCGEU] … We will be working with the BCGEU in the coming months.”
The unionization was the culmination of “several months” of effort, Finch noted.
The vote to join was 87 per cent, with 82 per cent of workers casting a ballot. Workers will now have to vote to elect a new bargaining committee.
The workers will join the more than 3,400 casino employees already part of the BCGEU.
The union in recent years has seen a “rapid increase” of unionization in the casino sector, Finch said. “In an industry where there is so much profit, [workers] want to see a fair share of that profit.”