Moist announces $100,000 for public campaign
CALGARY – The employees of the ABS Calgary Casino began a strike Sept. 23 at noon in a bid to win higher wages and better working conditions.
The 435 employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are the dealers, food servers, security staff and other non-management employees of the casino.
CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz, who was on hand with the employees as they walked out of the casino, said the strike wouldn’t be necessary if the ABS paid wages similar in range to other casinos.
“There is no reason for ABS casino to pay two to three dollars an hour less than their competitors,” said Lanovaz. “Our members do a difficult job in a loud and smoky atmosphere and they deserve some credit for making ABS a success.”
Lanovaz compared what he called ‘the near minimum wage’ levels of casino employees with the lavish lifestyle of ABS owner Heinz Oldach.
“While telling his employees that they should live on $7/hour in Calgary, Heinz Oldach lives in luxury at, and I’m not making this up – the ‘Easy Street Ranch,’” referring to the Casino King’s estate near Tofield.
“No one on this picket line is looking for easy street, but they are looking for a fair deal.”
Meanwhile CUPE National President Paul Moist also visited the picket line today, promising that the National Union would put forward $100,000 for a public awareness campaign.
“Starting next week, we are going to blast the airwaves of this city asking the good people of Calgary not to visit this casino until the employees get a fair contract,” said Moist.
“CUPE is the largest union in Canada, and if one of our locals is on strike, we back them up with what ever resources are needed.”
For more information about the strike visit www.alberta.cupe.ca/casino.htm