19 April 2016
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is urging the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to cooperate in promoting the safety of its locked out workers. The 124 workers have been locked out for over four months now, after having rejected a contract from OLG that sought to freeze wages and get rid of pension language from the existing collective agreement.
The workers run a legal picket line at the Albion Rd. entrances of the Rideau Carleton Slots every day of the week, and PSAC has been continuously pursuing ways to make the picket line safe for workers and the general public, including by:
- Providing training on picket line safety to all locked out workers
- Closely liaising with the Ottawa Police Service to ensure the line does not pose public safety concerns
- Ensuring picketers have access to reflective vests and, in the evenings, blinker lights
- Meeting with Ward Councillor George Darouze to ensure that safety concerns raised by his constituents are addressed
“While the vast majority of those crossing the picket line have had cordial interactions with picketers, following a few incidents in January involving cars clipping picketers with side mirrors, we asked OLG in writing to help promote picket line safety,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC in the National Capital Region. “We requested that OLG instruct clients as well as its own non-locked out staff to be mindful of the safety of locked out workers, and to exercise caution and patience at the line.”
Regrettably, OLG has ignored PSAC’s requests and recently, in fact, asked PSAC to direct locked out workers to stop taking some safety measures, such as holding no entry signs faced to outside traffic when walking in front of the exit lanes of the facility. Indeed, the April 16 incident involving a PSAC member being struck by a car occurred when the driver sought to squeeze into the facility via the exit lane.
“We renew our request to OLG to help promote the safety of its own workers by issuing communication to its non-locked out staff and its clients encouraging them to be cautious and respect the safety of picketers,” added Doug Marshall, President of the Union of National Employees, a component of PSAC. “The locked out workers have the constitutional right to picket, after all, and OLG should do its part to uphold that right.”