The initial friction between management and staff at Chances Casino Abbotsford over a proposed collective agreement has been resolved.

After previously refusing to sign new contracts, members of the United Steelworkers union have finally signed Playtime Gaming’s newly proposed and improved contract.

The corporation issued a lockout notice to its workers on June 14, 2021, which they refused to sign because it would have reduced benefits and offered them almost minimum wages. Workers have been unable to return to work for more than a year as B.C. casino properties have been closed since March 2020, causing some tension among them.

Terms Now Agreed

Al Bieksa, President of USW Local 2009, stated in a recent press release that the bargaining committee has worked hard to get the company to reconsider their concessionary wage and benefit offers. The union’s president also stated that after two days of protesting and with the help of the membership, the union was able to reach an agreement with the gaming corporation on new terms.

The collective agreement currently provides for an 8% wage rise for employees over the next three years of the contract. The company received a large financial injection from the federal government via the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, which secured loans for corporations with revenue over CA$300 million, according to Ginette Talbo-Hoogeveen, USW Staff Representative.

Ms. Talbo-Hoogeveen indicated that union workers had had enough of the lockdown and lack of work over the previous 15 months. She concluded her statement by expressing that she is very pleased with the new contract and that the members refused to give in to the company’s bullying shenanigans and stood united when they were locked out.

Annual Charity Events

Despite the controversial contract situation, Chances Casino Abbotsford brings plenty of positives to the area.  Every year, the casino property organizes a number of charitable events to raise funds for local group and communities in need. Every July, the facility organizes its annual food bank event, which this year exceeded expectations in its efforts to assist the local Archway Food Bank.

The event was held on Canada Day in 2019, and everyone was invited to enjoy a free pancake breakfast. Participants were required to contribute by bringing a non-perishable item and donate it to the initiative. The feast continued into the evening, with great barbecue served by the property’s Red 21 Tap + Grill. Everyone got a hot dog or burger, as well as chips and a cold drink, for only CA$6.

July Reopening

After nearly 15 months of no in-person gambling, British Columbia is close to reopening its gaming facilities. This is possible following the announcement by the local government of a new economic recovery plan at the end of many. According to the agreement, gaming facilities and nightclubs would be able to reopen and welcome guests as early as July 1.