By a three-to-one margin, workers at four Interior casinos in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon have voted against a tentative contract settlement.
"The result sends a pretty strong message that both sides are going to have to improve on the original offer," says Mike Orders, negotiator of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, which represents the workers.
The tentative agreement that was voted down was reached earlier in March with the help of Labour Relations Board mediator Mark Brown. It provided for pay raises of 2.5, 3 and 2.5 per cent in a three-year deal, plus increases in paid training. The union's bargaining committee had recommended acceptance.
Orders says that a controversial move by the employer to change how gratuities were divided among the workers had a significant impact on the vote result.
"The gratuity change would have resulted in some workers receiving a much smaller share of tips," says Orders. "It's caused much anxiety in the workplace, and we saw that reflected in the vote outcome," says Orders.
The 500 staff at the Lake City Casino sites work as dealers, slot machine attendants, cashiers, food and beverage servers and security personnel. They've been without a contract since September 2007.
Orders says the union will be consulting with members about the next step in efforts to achieve a new agreement.
Media, please contact Stephen Howard, BCGEU communications
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