Pickets go back up for now - CUPE seals ballot box
CALGARY – There is still no settlement in the six-week strike at ABS Casino Calgary.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), on strike since September 23rd, did vote on a mediator’s recommended settlement. However, because of late breaking negotiations between the union and the employer, CUPE decided to seal the ballots.
“It became clear in the meeting that the membership was not happy with the settlement,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “We got on the phone with the Casino manager, told him the deal wasn’t going to fly, and he agreed to meet tonight.”
Lanovaz said the union decided to seal the ballots to see if the offer could be improved. If there is a new deal, the union will hold a new vote, if there is no movement by the employer, the ballots will be counted.
“It’s an extraordinary circumstance,” said Lanovaz. “But because we gave notice of the vote, we didn’t feel we could cancel the vote mid way through for something that might not pan out.”
Lanovaz said picket lines would be back up tomorrow. The President was hopeful the Casino would improve the offer.
“This is a dangerous and violent picket line,” said Lanovaz “I think the union and the employer owe it to everyone to get a deal before someone is seriously hurt or even killed.”
Lanovaz said the dynamic of addicted gamblers, alcohol, cars, and a labour dispute has caused many ugly scenes on the picket line.
“I don’t think people realized how many nasty confrontations there would be,” said Lanovaz. “We’ve lost track of the number of times the police have shown up, most of the picketers have been hit by cars at least once, and it’s always dangerous when gamblers lose and are looking to take out their frustrations.”
For more information on the strike, go to www.alberta.cupe.ca/casino.htm