Charities Asked to Support Striking Palace Casino Workers

The labour movement has escalated its efforts to resolve the Palace Casino strike by sending letters to 300 charities who are scheduled to volunteer for casinos at Palace in the coming months. The letter, sent on October 13 from Alberta Federation of Labour President Gil McGowan, asks charities to contact the Minister of Gaming and the casino owners to urge them to settle the dispute quickly. It also asks them to consider canceling their scheduled casino if the strike continues.

"The intransigence of Palace Casino and the government's willful neglect of this issue have put charities in a difficult spot," notes McGowan. "Either they make their volunteers cross a picket line, or they forfeit their coveted casino spot. It is not a great situation. It is in everyone's interest to end this strike quickly."

"Our letter is to acknowledge the difficult spot they are in, and ask them to be a part of resolving the conflict as quickly as possible," says McGowan. "We are asking them to put pressure on the casino owners to come back to the negotiating table. We are also asking them to demand that the government take a more active role in resolving this conflict."

"We want to start a conversation with the charities about why the workers are on strike, and why it is important they respect the picket line."

The letter also outlines options available to charities if they choose to not cross the picket line. It indicates that if they cancel ahead of time, the government will attempt to reschedule the casino as soon as possible. However, if they fail to produce the required number of volunteers at the time of their casino, they risk forfeiting their spot in the rotation.

"The government could assist the charities by guaranteeing that any charity that chooses to cancel their casino due to the strike would be guaranteed a replacement once the dispute is resolved. So far they refuse to do that, which makes them part of the problem," McGowan observes.

McGowan notes that business at the casino is down substantially. "The strike is having a serious effect on the casino's business. They are losing tens of thousands of dollars a day due to lost customers. It is in Palace's financial interest to agree to a fair deal and end this strike. Why they don't is beyond comprehension."

McGowan is hopeful the charities will appreciate the information in the letter and will contact the union to discuss how the workers and the charities can work together to end the strike. "These charities do important work for the community. They are decent people. Hopefully the combined efforts of the workers and these volunteers will bring the government and Palace Casino to their senses."

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For More Information

Gil McGowan, AFL President      Cell: (780) 218-9888




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