The OLG slots at the Woodbine racetrack will lose hours of operation, effective at midnight tonight, if a labour strike is launched. The Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 533 union, which represents over 400 slot workers at Woodbine, rejected a final offer from the OLG, and will take to the picket line if a new proposal isn’t agreed upon before the end of the day.
According to statements from the PSAC 533 chapter, slots workers are unhappy with the working conditions at the racetrack. Most workers are reportedly part time staff, which the union argues is unfair because the OLG can afford to offer full time positions. Woodbine also released a statement clarifying that if the strike occurs amongst the slot workers, the labour disruption won’t affect horseracing in any way.
Employees were notably concerned about the OLG’s casino expansion plans in the GTA, and how those expansions would affect their jobs. The PSAC 533 posted a statement on their website condemning the OLG’s casino plans, and dismissing arguments that casino approval guarantees “good paying jobs.”
“The OLG has been promoting casinos, stating that they provide good jobs, while the reality is that most of the work provided is part-time and precarious.”
Earlier this week, Toronto city council rejected the OLG’s proposal for an expansion of gambling at Woodbine, which would include table games onsite if the motion had passed. Councilors also rejected the downtown Toronto casino proposal, and the OLG turned its focus on the surrounding GTA communities.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour gave consent for the OLG to lock out the union if negotiations fail to produce a new contract. The PSAC ordered all members to arrive at Woodbine at 6am Monday morning, which indicates workers are expected to take to the picket lines.