Quebec Casinos Adjust Hours and Services Amid Ongoing Strike
Last Friday, around 1,700 employees of Loto-Quebec, a provincial crown corporation that administers lottery and casino gaming, initiated a strike at the six casinos owned by the corporation.
More than 1,700 casino resort workers in Quebec have gone on strike outside of Casino de Montreal. Riccardo Scopelleti, Union President of the Casino de Montreal-CSN workers group, states that collective bargaining negotiations have come to a standstill. The union demands that Loto-Quebec increase compensation to keep up with inflation, as well as add an extra dollar an hour. However, Loto-Quebec claims these pay demands are excessive compared to what was granted to non-union employees in the past year. The Quebec region has six resorts and gaming halls in its casino portfolio, such as Casino de Montreal, Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, Hotel-Casino de Charlevoix in La Malbaie, Salon de jeux de Quebec, and Salon de jeux de Trois-Rivieres, which have all had to modify their hours and services due to the strike.
Union and casinos have reached an impasse—with Quebec’s crown-run lottery tracing back to the late 1960s, current Loto-Quebec enterprise being established in 1992 to preside over gambling, it was 31 years ago that provincial legislators made land-based casinos lawful in order to build “Quebec’s high-class tourism infrastructure, create occupations, produce new cash for the administration, and bring back considerable sums expended by Québécois in casinos outside of Quebec”.
Union, Casinos Reach Deadlock
The casino workers’ union, covering housekeepers, cooks, servers, and bellhops who are not involved with table game dealing, slot attendance, or pit supervising, has argued that Loto-Quebec should share the business revenue generated post-COVID-19 with its workers. Pointing out that the company had granted its executives annual bonuses of over C$650,000, the union pressed for increased wages. Representatives from Loto-Quebec stated that the union’s demands are “more than double” the pay increases they gave their nonunion employees. Seeking to up the stakes in negotiation discussions, Scopelleti and union members called for a five-day strike which prevented security, catering, and maintenance operations within the Loto-Quebec casinos during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Montreal; however, the event still took place.
Last week, the union declared an “unlimited general strike” that began on Friday and will continue until a new contract is negotiated. Due to the strike, many businesses have adjusted their operating hours.
Modified Business Hours
Casinos in Quebec owned by the provincial government are still operating, with hours of operation changed. Casino Montreal is open from 2 pm to 2 am every day, but both Casino Mont-Tremblant and Hotel-Casino Charlevoix close on Mondays-Wednesdays and open Thursdays-Sundays from 2 pm to midnight. Casino Lac-Leamy, Salon Quebec, and Salon Trois-Rivieres are open 9 am to 3 am each day. Gaming is available, but restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment venues have been closed or limited due to the labor dispute. Hotels, however, are still open, but with no room service or bellhops. Some hotel amenities such as pools, gyms, and spas remain operational.
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