Luis Contreras aboard ‘Holy Helena’ races his way to winning the 158th running of the Queen’s Plate horse race at Woodbine Race Track, in Toronto, Ont., July 2. About 400 workers at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. facility at the Woodbine horse racing track were locked out Friday after their employer and union were unable to reach a new contract agreement. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Lockout at OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack

TORONTO — About 400 workers at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. facility at the Woodbine horse racing track were locked out Friday after their employer and union were unable to reach a new contract agreement.

The lockout at the facility in northwest Toronto comes after the workers, who are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, voted last weekend to reject a tentative agreement that had been reached with OLG on July 5.

The lockout began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and workers were escorted off the premises, a PSAC spokesperson said.

The union has said its bargaining team sent a revised offer to the OLG on Wednesday, but it was rejected.

A group of workers and union representatives were spending Friday picketing outside the facility.

Woodbine will remain open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but the electronic poker room is closed and an onsite courtesy shuttle will be unavailable because of the labour dispute, the OLG said.

The main sticking point in the union’s discussions with OLG is around working conditions for part-time employees, who the union said represent 60 per cent of its members.

“We have part-time workers who have been doing full-time hours for over 10 years, and yet they are still classified at part-time,” PSAC Ontario regional vice-president Sharon DeSousa said in a statement Friday.

She added that means Woodbine employees are not entitled to paid sick days and they can go from working seven days in a week to just one day.

“There is no consistency for these workers and they are tired of it,” DeSousa said. “The Liberal government needs to address why their Crown corporation has created such a precarious workforce at its most profitable gaming site in the province.”

OLG said in a statement that it had made wage and lump sum proposals and was willing to put the offer before an arbitrator.

“OLG respects the collective bargaining process and we treat our employees fairly and respectfully,” the Crown corporation said in a statement. ”We are open to having discussions with PSAC at any time to resolve the issues in dispute.”

The Woodbine facility features more than 3,000 slot machines, electronic games and horse racing.

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