Casino de Montréal Dealers Reach Tentative Labor Agreement With Loto-Québec

Croupiers at the casino have been working without a collective agreement since April 2020
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The ongoing labor disruption at Casino de Montréal appears to be nearing an end.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 545 unionized Casino de Montréal croupiers who are currently on strike, and the Société des casinos du Québec reached a tentative new labor agreement on Friday afternoon, according to a press release from the union.

Details of the new deal were not disclosed and members will vote on the terms of the new agreement in the coming weeks.

“The union and bargaining committees are satisfied with this agreement and are confident that it will also be satisfactory to the members,” said Jean-Pierre Proulx, CUPE representative, in the release.

Croupiers at the casino have been on strike since May 21. Their collective labor agreement expired on March 31, 2020.

Paid breaks an issue

The dealers were seeking improvements to their daily schedule in order to reduce injuries related to repetitive work, but Société des casinos du Québec, a subsidiary of the provincially run Loto-Québec, said it had not observed an increase in injuries to its workers.

In a statement on Aug. 4, Loto-Québec said its croupiers “already benefit from the best conditions in the industry.”

Croupiers at the Casino de Montréal were seeking 30 minutes of paid break for each hour worked, which would mean they’d spend more than 30% of their shift on paid break. Loto-Québec said that as a public employer, it couldn’t accommodate such a request.

Salaries were also an issue for the unionized dealers. The Casino de Montréal offers new employees just 90% of the posted base salary, which the casino explained by saying it already pays its employees 20% more than the average wage for new hires in the sector. CUPE said Loto-Québec downgraded hourly payments from $18.40 to $17.44 (CAD) per hour for new employees.

Operations at the casino, such as slots, shows, and catering services, were largely unaffected by the striking workers, according to Loto-Québec. The casino did report, however, that table games were not at their full potential for patrons.

Canada’s casino industry has been hit hard over the past couple years due to rolling health and safety COVID-19 closures and restrictions imposed by the provincial government. However, in its 2021-2022 fiscal report, Loto-Québec reported revenue in its casino and gaming hall sector of $657.2 million, an increase of $323.5 million compared to the previous year, when health and safety restrictions in the casinos included limited capacity and reduced hours.

Opened in 1993, Casino de Montréal is the largest casino in Canada and features over 3,000 slot machines and 120 gaming tables. It can accommodate approximately 4,000 patrons.

Photo: Shutterstock

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