18 December 2015
During the past week, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation made a number of misleading statements about the collective bargaining situation of their workers at the Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots (RCRS).
“We’d like to correct the record,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada—National Capital Region. “It’s important for the public to know that while we are very happy to return to the table and reach a resolution, the OLG has shown no flexibility.”
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti is reported to have said that OLG “had no intention of locking out the employees before or during the Christmas season” (Ottawa Sun, December 16), yet that is precisely what OLG proceeded to do. The workers at the RCRS did not go on strike and were, in fact, hoping to negotiate a fair settlement before Christmas.
Mr. Bitonti further said that “[w]e are willing to go back to the bargaining table at any time.” (Ottawa Community News, December 18) This is misleading because OLG has set a precondition for returning to the table: namely, that workers accept its proposal to freeze wages for two years and remove existing pension language from the current collective agreement.
The OLG claims that RCRS workers have rejected the same compensation and benefits package that 17 other OLG units have accepted. (Ottawa Citizen, December 15) This is misleading because RCRS workers are underpaid compared to workers at other OLG casinos and would remain so under the OLG’s proposed terms.
“Union members rejected the last offer from OLG, which freezes wages and attacks their pensions, by a 96% vote,” said Doug Marshall, President of the Union of National Employees, a component union of the PSAC. “The truth is that OLG, which reported $2 billion in profit last year, is trying to push this bad contract onto workers so that they can tell private companies looking to buy the facility: ‘look at us, we’ve cut our costs so you can make even more than $2 billion in profit per year if you buy us.’”
RCRS management locked out 124 of its workers, represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, on December 15. The workers served in a variety of roles, including as parking attendants, housekeepers, slot attendants, slot technicians, cashiers and money room clerks.