Rideau-Carleton Lockout: OLG abruptly walks away from bargaining table

31 March 2016

The provincially-owned Ontario and Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) walked away from talks yesterday aimed at ending the lockout of Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots workers.

The bargaining team for the workers, unionized with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, had exchanged various proposals during the course of the day but, suddenly, at around 4 pm, the OLG negotiating team abruptly left the meeting without explanation, leaving the conciliator to explain to the workers’ bargaining team that the negotiations session was effectively over. The premature departure of the OLG negotiating team meant that the bargaining session was not even able to deal with pensions, which along with wages is a key concern for workers.

“It is both bizarre and outrageous that OLG would run away in the middle of the bargaining session, without any notice and without any response to our last offer,” said Doug Marshall, president of the Union of National Employees, a component of PSAC. “They clearly have no interest in working to end their lockout.”

The bargaining session was convened by a government conciliator following intense political pressure brought on by the workers, including a rally and press conference at Queen’s Park on March 9, direct lobbying meetings with Liberal MPPs, and major rallies at Liberal MPP offices in Ottawa on March 29.

“While we remain ready to return to the bargaining table at any time, we will dramatically ramp up political pressure over the coming days and weeks,” said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC in the National Capital Region. “Kathleen Wynne’s government should really be ashamed at how it is treating these workers, and we’re going to make sure the Liberals can’t ignore us.”

The 124 workers at the Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots were locked out on the evening of December 15, 2015, after refusing to accept a new contract that would freeze wages for an additional two years and remove existing pension language from the current collective agreement.