Friday, June 25, 2010


Employees at Casino Regina in Regina Saskatchewan have been without a contract since May 2009, and early this month they decided that enough was enough. The first to walk out were members of the PSAC on June 3, and they were followed by others from the RWDSU on June 4. The casino, of course, is a great cash cow for the provincial government, but despite this they have been unwilling to part with a little of it for the employees.

There is a strike support Facebook Page and also a Strike Blog. Look there for more info. All that Molly can say of the government is that it is a more than one armed bandit. It takes the taxes with one hand, the gambling revenues with another, and puts its third hand behind its back when its employees ask for decent wages and working conditions. Sounds like a game you can't win.

Here's an item from the Regina Leader Post about how some of the regulars at the Casino sympathize with the strikers.

Casino Regina regulars on side of striking workers
By PAMELA ROTH, Leader-Post

REGINA — It's getting harder each week for some regular patrons of Casino Regina to cross the picket line in front of the building.

Ever since more than 400 gaming employees went on strike almost three weeks ago after failed attempts to reach a new contract with their employer, the Crown-owned Saskatchewan Gaming Corp., Maryanne Burst would like nothing more than to see both sides get back to the bargaining table.

She doesn't mind having to serve herself a beverage while she's playing the slot machines, but said other casino patrons have been complaining about the lack of employees.

Aside from that, Burst said it's been business as usual for her at the casino slot machines, and she doesn't blame the gaming employees for demanding a raise.

"I think they have to fight for their rights like everybody else," said Burst. "This just allows the high-rollers to save their money."

The casino was active with patrons on Tuesday afternoon, even though all gaming tables are temporarily closed due to the strike, and food and beverage services are limited.

Food and beverage employees are also on the picket line after the decision to strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) — the union that represents Casino Regina gaming employees.

The union members, which include dealers, cashiers, security guards and slot attendants, have been without a contract since May 2009.

Wage increases, family leave and night-shift premiums are the outstanding issues.

Edie, who did not want to use her last name, visits the casino to gamble once a week and hasn't been disrupted by the strike.

So far, she's pleased with how the casino has handled the scale-back in a number of services, but admits it's getting harder to drive through the picket line.

"We go in there with an understanding we are not going to get the same services," said Edie. "I feel badly for them (the employees). We hear how much profit the casino makes. They can afford to pay a bit more,"

Since the strike began, PSAC and Sask. Gaming have had limited contact with one another.

Last week, a spokesperson for the Sask. Gaming Corp said the corporation is eager to get back to the bargaining table, but so far no meetings have been arranged.

Fran Mohr, spokesperson for PSAC, said spirits on the picket line are still high.

"We'd had a lot of donations of food and stuff like that," she said. "Even in the rain, everybody is still happy to be here."

Sask. Gaming owns and operates Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw, which are regulated by the provincial government.

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