In a spectacular show of worker solidarity, over 250 BCGEU members from River Rock Casino came, on their own time, to observe bargaining and deliver a petition demanding workplace respect to their employer on May 2. They were joined in force by BCGEU members at Hard Rock Casino, standing in solidarity.
Workers from all departments were briefed on how bargaining observation works, expecting a 10 AM start to the meeting. When they arrived, the employers' bargaining committee refused to enter the room. Everyone waited while the employer tried to decide if they should enter the room or not.
After significant negotiation it was agreed that 20 volunteers from River Rock would present the petition to the employer. They were granted access to the employer’s negotiations room and after a brief statement, placed piles of the 800-plus signatures on the table one by one. This powerful action was a strong, confident statement for everyone. They returned to the larger room excited that the employer had been forced to meet with the employees and happy that worker demands for respect in the workplace had been heard.
While workers finished the action empowered about the petition and their massive solidarity, many felt disrespected. The workers were ready to listen respectfully to bargaining and not interfere, but the employer was not receptive to that idea and did not allow the workers to observe bargaining.
After the delegation of the petition, the bargaining committee sat down with the employer to continue negotiations, and the union is hopeful that our powerful statement will help negotiations progress to a solid collective agreement. The worker bargaining committee felt the fantastic solidarity and support of all their co-workers, and go back to the table energized. Bargaining is scheduled to continue this week.