Elbow River – Union Negotiations Commence!

Union bargaining committee members were buoyed by optimism as they met with Elbow River management to exchange proposals for a new Collective Agreement. The meeting took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in East Village just a few blocks away from your casino.

Spirits were high among Union bargaining committee members. The following individuals made up the Union’s bargaining team on this particular day:

  • Tom Hesse
  • Stephen Reed
  • Joe Irving
  • Mantana (Maxx) Parnont – Dealer
  • Jayson Collinge – Dealer
  • Kevin Pierson – Dealer
  • Chris Bukovits – Dealer
  • Georgee Sandford – Dealer
  • Nicole Smiley – Dealer
  • Marion Douglas – Dealer
  • Dave Xiong – Dealer
  • Morris (Skip) Skippen –Dealer
  • Gabriela Dejardins – Dealer
  • Luis Gomez – Count Room

Other members of the elected bargaining committee could not attend at this particular time, but will undoubtedly be attending forthcoming bargaining sessions. The Union presented a 70 page document to the Company. Click here to review the exact document that we gave to Elbow River Management. It represents a composite of all of the proposals submitted to us by Elbow River employees through surveys, and as presented at special Union proposal meetings. It was edited and refined by the bargaining committee, and Union Representatives. At least 100 hours of work went in to preparation of the document.

Some of the proposals are based in specific contract language. Others are stated more in the form of principles and discussion points. We have tried to avoid a rigid approach to facilitate dialogue and room to negotiate.

Unfortunately, the Company did not bring the same approach. Employee bargaining committee members from the Union side felt that the Company didn’t do their homework, and that they were not well versed in their own business. In the view of the bargaining committee, the Company proposals seemed incomplete and carelessly put together. Chief Union negotiator Tom Hesse advised the Employer that they would receive an opportunity to correct their incoming proposals. We demanded that their proposals be recrafted in a form to be realistic and respectful to the hard working employees of Elbow River. The proposals offered by the Company don’t even reflect the Company’s current practices and certainly don’t come close to reflecting Union industry standards, or meeting the expectations of the employees at Elbow River. Click here to see the document the Company provided.

We have provided full copies of all of these documents, because we are a Union that believes in transparency. Any employee can visit the bargaining process and we are sharing all of the Company and Union’s proposals. It is important to know that these proposals are opening positions and don’t in any way represent a final agreement, so there is no need to panic or worry unduly. However, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we are going to have to show the Company a lot of strength and solidarity to convince them to be reasonable.

This is a Company that has gotten its way for too long. One employee has told us that the old owner Sam Switzer on his worst day was much better as a boss than the new owners on their best day. Incidentally, we regret to advise you that Mr. Switzer passed away last week and we extend our condolences to his family.

We are optimistic and hopeful for the future. Our Union is very experienced in helping employees improve their workplaces. It’s very exciting to see Elbow River employees come together and demand a fair deal. We are going to have to be patient and persistent, but we are confident that a fair deal can ultimately be achieved.

We have asked the Company to provide us with some critical information by the end of the week. In order to understand this workplace we need to see what the current state of things is. For example, management seems slippery about wanting to be open about what is in your personnel files. We worry that there may be discipline in your file or other negative things that they don’t want to show us, and don’t want you to see either. As a Union we would like to see any unfair discipline or documents on your file to be removed, and destroyed. We are awaiting the Company’s response to our request.

This is just one thing we are waiting for. We are also waiting for the Company to agree to more dates for bargaining meetings. Stand by for more information.

Please take the time to talk with members of the bargaining committee. If you still feel uncertain about unionizing or are confused about the process ask them what they saw and how they felt about it. We are confident that we are able to deliver solid representation. That representation can only be stronger with your support and solidarity.