Workers at OLG set to strike, says union

Current round of bargaining for more than 400 workers in Ontario began in October 2016

Workers at OLG set to strike, says union
The current round of bargaining for more than 400 workers at OLG in Ontario began in October 2016. Shutterstock

More than 400 workers at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) corporation are set to strike, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union that represents these workers.

It requested a No Board Report from the Minister of Labour, who has set the legal strike/lock-out date of Friday, July 14, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. 

No meetings have been scheduled prior to this strike/lockout deadline, said PSAC.

"We've seen the OLG lock out workers at Brantford, Sudbury, Rideau Carleton and at Woodbine," said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario regional executive vice-president. "This potential labour disruption is consistent with the pattern that has emerged with the OLG's privatization scheme and puts into question their sincerity in negotiating a fair agreement with their workers."

Much of the workforce is at, or close to, the Liberal government's proposed minimum wage increase of $15, said the union, and about 60 per cent is part-time, with precarious hours.

"We're seeing the Liberal government selling off this valuable asset to a private operator with the bidding process open right now for a 20-year lease," said local president Theo Lagakos. "Meanwhile, the workers are being kicked out of a good public pension and we are left wondering about our future."

The current round of bargaining began in late October 2016, with a tentative agreement reached in February 2017 that was rejected by the workers. The parties met again prior to applying for conciliation in May and then again with the assistance of a conciliation officer in June. Workers voted overwhelmingly on May 12 and 13, 2017, to support a strike if the OLG did not come to the table with a new reasonable offer, said PSAC.

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