TORONTO, Oct. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Locked out OLG workers - members of Unifor working at Sudbury Downs, Casino Brantford and Woodbine Racetrack – along with supporters effectively shut down the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto earlier this afternoon, blocking all entrances to the popular gaming facility.
"We're here to send a strong message to Premier Kathleen Wynne and the OLG to get back to the table and negotiate with our members," said Bob Orr, Assistant to the National President of Unifor. "It can't be business as usual when you've locked out the very workers who make these sites profitable, refusing to let them have a say in their retirement security."
As part of OLG's 'modernization plan', which has been backed by the Wynne government, the retirement security of roughly 1000 Unifor members is at risk. Because of the privatization plan, OLG workers are no longer eligible for their current pension plan, but the OLG refuses to negotiate the terms of a new retirement plan for their employees and has chosen to lock out its workers.
"Wynne claims to be a champion of retirement security, yet she and her government are turning a blind eye as their privatization scheme puts that very security at risk for OLG workers," said Orr.
The workers have been locked out by the OLG since 12:01 AM on September 19th.
"Morale is pretty good on the line," said Joyce Boreman, a locked out worker from OLG Casino Brantford. "We're seeing a lot of support from the public and once they hear what's going on, most patrons are turning around."
"I think people are surprised, because they hear the Premier talk about the importance of pensions, but then behind closed doors she's taking them away," said Boreman.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including over 17,000 in the hospitality and gaming sector. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.