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Employee benefits for casino workers extended until end of August

United Steelworkers, Gateway Casinos hammer out agreement to extend benefits for employees in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Thunder Bay throughout the summer
File photo shows Gateway Casino Sault Ste. Marie sign on Bay Street. Carol Martin/SooToday

The union for front-line workers at Gateway Casinos in Sault Ste. Marie has reached an agreement with the company to extend benefits for casino workers until the end of August. 

United Steelworkers Area Representative Marc Ayotte says a memorandum of agreement recently signed between Gateway and the union will see approximately 300 workers at Gateway-owned casinos in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and the Sault continue to receive employee benefits throughout the summer months.

Ayotte worked with United Steelworkers Local 8748-18 bargaining unit chair Albert Williams and other union representatives throughout the month of June in order to come to an agreement with Gateway.   

Employee benefits were originally set to expire June 30. 

“All in all, the work that was being done mutually with Gateway and the locals was productive - and hopefully, everybody gets back to work safely,” he said. 

Ayotte says that Gateway is currently leveraging the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to ensure paid leave for workers while the casinos remain closed under provincial emergency orders. 

While United Steelworkers has received assurances from Gateway surrounding employee safety upon return to work, it’s still unclear how many workers will return once the casinos resume operations.   

“We want to see the right thing being done. We want to make sure that the workers are coming back safely,” said Ayotte. “We want to make sure the workers have work to come back to - that’s going to be dictated by how many people actually show up to the casino.”

“Our intent is to have everybody back at work.” 

United Steelworkers Local 8748-18 represents more than 100 workers at Gateway Casinos in Sault Ste. Marie.