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21-day lockout at Woodbine Slots and Racing ends with new agreement

Last Updated Aug 4, 2017 at 3:56 pm EDT

Unionized employees at Woodbine racetrack demonstrate after they were locked out on July 14, 2017. CITYNEWS/Bahaa Attia

Workers at Woodbine Slots and Racing have overwhelmingly accepted a new agreement reached earlier this week, ending a 21-day lockout.

The bargaining team for the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation met with a conciliator on Tuesday and following a lengthy day of talks, a tentative agreement was reached which was voted on and accepted by workers on Thursday.

Sharon DeSousa, executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Ontario region, said all the workers will be back on the job by Tuesday.

The Woodbine facility features more than 3,000 slot machines, electronic games and horse racing. A statement from the OLG said all services at the facility will be back to normal following the labour dispute.

At the time of the lockout, the union pointed to “precarious” employment of part-time workers as a sticking point. Even though many part-time workers work full-time hours, they are refused full-time employment.

The deal runs through March 31, 2019. Included in the new agreement is a provision to turn 25 formerly part-time positions into full-time jobs, DeSousa said, adding that the new contract also improves job security.

“It was extremely important for our members to deal with the precarious work, and to be able to schedule better shifts, and have more work-life balance,” DeSousa said.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report