Ten­ta­tive deal could end 42-day strike at casino

Union hopes agree­ment will launch ‘har­mo­nious’ new chap­ter with Cae­sars

Windsor Star - - CITY + REGION - DAVE BATTAGELLO — with files from Dal­son Chen

A ten­ta­tive agree­ment reached early Thurs­day morn­ing be­tween Cae­sars Wind­sor man­age­ment and the casino’s strik­ing work­ers will hope­fully be the start of a new chap­ter should rat­i­fi­ca­tion oc­cur on Fri­day, said Dave Cas­sidy, pres­i­dent of Uni­for Lo­cal 444. “We hope to start a new har­mo­nious (re­la­tion­ship) with changes for the bet­ter­ment of every­body,” he said. “I think we have ad­dressed a lot of issues where peo­ple have talked about re­spect.

“I’m op­ti­mistic our mem­ber­ship will like the agree­ment we bring back to them.”

The union an­nounced shortly af­ter 1:30 a.m. that its bar­gain­ing team had reached a new deal with Cae­sars af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions re­sumed Tues­day.

It is the sec­ond time 2,300 full­time, part-time and ca­sual work­ers will be asked to vote on a deal. Union mem­ber­ship voted against the ini­tial agree­ment by a 59 per cent ma­jor­ity, lead­ing to a strike that be­gan on April 6 and has so far lasted 42 days.

No de­tails of the lat­est deal are be­ing re­leased pend­ing the rat­i­fi­ca­tion vote.

The vote will take place at 10 a.m. Fri­day at the WFCU Cen­tre (8787 McHugh St.). Vot­ing mem­bers are re­quired to bring their badge or union card.

“I am very ex­cited with the ten­ta­tive agree­ment we have to bring back,” Cas­sidy said. “The com­mit­tee worked dili­gently. We turned over ev­ery rock and straight­ened out ev­ery­thing we could.” Cas­sidy took over as union pres­i­dent about mid­way through the strike. He in­her­ited the job from James Ste­wart, who has as­sumed Cas­sidy ’s for­mer role as the union’s sec­re­tary trea­surer. Af­ter weeks of no com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the two sides re­turned to the ta­ble on Tues­day with the as­sis­tance of a pro­vin­cial con­cil­ia­tor. Fol­low­ing a short ses­sion on Tues­day, a marathon ses­sion that lasted more than 15 hours be­gan on Wed­nes­day and fi­nally re­sulted in a deal be­ing struck early Thurs­day morn­ing.

“No­body likes to see a strike,” Cas­sidy said. “This mem­ber­ship

No­body likes to see a strike. ... I can tell you there have been many days where I have not slept.

has been very de­ter­mined and very strong. I can tell you there have been many days where I have not slept and have been think­ing about the sac­ri­fices they have made.” Cae­sars man­age­ment won’t com­ment until af­ter the rat­i­fi­ca­tion vote.

“Fur­ther up­dates will be shared when avail­able,” said Jhoan Baluyot, the casino’s man­ager of pub­lic re­la­tions. Dis­cus­sions were to be­gin on Thurs­day af­ter­noon on a pro­ce­dure to ramp up casino and ho­tel op­er­a­tions, pend­ing rat­i­fi­ca­tion, but there was no in­di­ca­tion yet how long it might be be­fore casino cus­tomers and ho­tel guests will be wel­comed back at Cae­sars. Once rat­i­fi­ca­tion is con­firmed, the casino “will share im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion” in terms of re­sum­ing op­er­a­tions, Baluyot said. Added Cas­sidy: “Our mem­ber­ship is anx­ious to pro­vide the high­qual­ity ser­vice the Cae­sars brand has al­ways been known for."


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