Casino de Montreal croupiers go on strike, close down poker room

by Ralph Trayfalgar Updated:

After failing to come to an agreement with Casino de Montreal management, croupiers and card dealers from Loto-Québec’s Casino de Montreal staged an “unlimited general strike” to protest the casino’s working conditions. 

Workers at the Montreal Casino staged a picket, beginning with a walkout at 9 AM on Saturday. The strike comes after two work stoppages of four hours each during the last weekend. According to the union, they anticipate that the strike will continue until the discussions result in a satisfactory agreement.

Loto-Quebec, the gaming operator and regulator for the Quebec provincial government, expressed its "disappointment" regarding the strike in a statement that it issued not too long ago. Loto-Quebec states that "operations at the casino will continue as normal" and that "clients will have access" to the Montreal venue.

"Poker tables, restaurants, slot machines, and entertainment are all operating as usual; however, the lounge where poker is played is now closed."

The union has voiced significant worry over injuries that are brought on by demanding work schedules. According to the union, fifty percent of the merchants have suffered injuries like tendinitis from their workloads.

In a single workday, croupiers are reportedly found to deal close to 10,000 cards, and they are urged to deal more quickly as faster game speed improves revenue for the casino. A majority of these dealers work anywhere from five to six days per week. 

According to a statement that was sent to the CBC by Jean-Pierre Proulx, a union consultant for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the position "needs lengthy hours of standing."

Another issue is the potential for lower starting salaries for newly hired personnel. The union reported thatc in order for dealers to put in a full week's worth of labor, they work fewer hours over the course of six days.

This issue is further compounded by Loto-Québec pushing for a pay cut of 10% for newly-hired dealers. According to the union, this would result in a decrease in the hourly pay for new employees, bringing it down from C$18.40 to C$17.44, which the union deems unacceptable.

Loto-Quebec argues that the terms that were presented during discussions were comparable to those that were approved by CUPE at the other casinos owned by the crown corporation.

The union accused Loto-Quebec of executing "hundreds of hidden layoffs" after the company failed to recall all of the live casino dealers who had been put off during the epidemic. This was the case despite the fact that limitations caused by coronavirus had already been lifted at the casino since February.

The Casino de Montreal is the largest casino in all of Canada, and it can be found on Notre Dame Island. The strike will not have any effect on the operations of any of the other Loto-Quebec casinos. 

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