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After privatization Gateway Casinos lays off workers

Sudbury – Gateway Casinos Sudbury announced Monday that seven of 40 workers will be laid off, and Unifor said the job loss is the direct result of privatization in Ontario gaming operations.

“Gateway’s decision to reduce the hours of operation at most of its Ontario casinos is a perfect example of why Unifor was against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) modernization plan all along,” said Jerry Dias Unifor National President, about the crown corporation which sped up privatization at the expense of workers. “Unifor stated all along that the sale of a crown corporation and its operations will negatively affect workers and good jobs in Ontario, and Gateway is doing just that.”

As the largest union in the gaming sector, Unifor expressed great concern about the privatization of gaming. After the OLG outsourced gaming operations and sold off assets the British Columbia-based Gateway Casinos and Entertainment enterprise purchased several facilities across Ontario.

In addition to the layoff announcement of four full-time and three part-time workers at the Sudbury casino who are represented by Unifor Local 598, there will be a layoff of six positions at Gateway Casino Point Edward, and another six at Gateway Casinos Dresden, who are represented by Local 444. The total layoffs amount to 19 positions. At all three casinos, Unifor is working with the company to minimize or eliminate the need for layoffs.

“We’ll be talking with the employer and union members to discuss a variety of options to save good jobs and support workers and their families,” said Richard Paquin, National Representative who is working with Local 598 in Sudbury. “If we’re successful, fewer workers will be laid off because no worker should have to pay the price of job loss resulting from privatization.”

Unifor noted that after the OLG allowed privatization of casinos the only obligation established was for new private operators to retain employees and guarantee jobs in the current position and location for one year, and the new employer had to provide workers with benefits and a pension. As a result of the privatization scheme and weak requirements, workers livelihoods have been left to the whim of corporate profits. For most facilities, the OLG one-year obligation arrangement ended in May.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Daniel Tseghay at Daniel.Tseghay@unifor.org or 647-327-9378 (cell).