Casino employers cannot gamble on workers’ well-being during pandemic

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Unifor members at Casino Rama in Ontario will receive an additional two months of benefits, during province-wide casino closures, thanks to constructive dialogue with Gateway Casinos.

“Workers made it abundantly clear that they need their hard-earned benefits to weather this pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “No worker should ever have to face this crisis without the support of their employer or access to their essential, and at times life-saving, benefits. We’re encouraged by Gateway’s continued support for workers.”

Casino workers in Ontario were among the first to feel the brunt of COVID-19-related work shortages. Immediately following a province-wide casino closure on March 15, an orderly shutdown of all casinos commenced leaving thousands of employees out of work.

“We immediately sprung into action to ensure casino workers had what they needed during these challenging times,” continued Dias. “We have a collective responsibility to hold employers accountable to their loyal workers.”

While some employers are cooperating to meet the immediate needs of workers, including the proper coding of Records of Employment (ROE), others are lagging behind. Benefit and wage protections vary from workplace to workplace, leaving many workers with uncertainty on wage security and benefit access.  Casino Rama benefits are extended until June 30, 2020.

“More needs to be done to ensure employers and government are responding to the immediate needs of workers who have families to feed and bills to pay,” says Dias.

Unifor continues to lead the call for wage premiums for essential workers, benefit continuation for the duration of the crisis, and an all-encompassing suite of policy demands that protects workers.

Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at