The union backing 33 full-time employees at Woodbine Slots who are being laid off has accused the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. of caring only about “the bottom line.”
The Public Service Alliance of Canada union said it doesn’t make sense to lay off the workers at the Rexdale gaming centre — 20 slot attendants and 13 count technicians — when OLG only plans to fill 40 more positions, most of them part-time in the coming weeks.
“The OLG is clearly making huge profits,” said PSAC spokesman Sharon DeSousa. “Why would they lay off nearly 10% of their workforce (at Woodbine)? You wouldn’t be giving them layoff notices … you’d be transferring them. If you have jobs available, why are you terminating employment?”
The layoff notices to the 33 workers were sent out Monday morning and will come into effect on Thursday, DeSousa said.
Many of the employees being cut are senior positions who have been working at the gaming centre since it opened in 2000, she said.
“Those workers feel betrayed their employer would give them such little notice, let alone any sort of heads up,” DeSousa said. “We’re going to fight it. The employer will have to make a business case as to why they can’t re-hire.”
The OLG said the layoffs were due to “new jackpot procedures” and “technological changes,” meaning when machines pay out a certain amount of money, slot attendants would usually do the payout by hand. That will be overtaken by newer machines.
“Through system technological changes, now what will happen is the requirements of the slot attendants have decreased by 60% so that’s resulted in some overstaffing that needs to be adjusted,” said OLG spokesman Rui Brum.
“In the cage and coin, the other department, we’ve replaced large count machines with newer machines. So when you go to cash out with your ticket, we have newer machines that operated more quickly, so we don’t have so many people in line (for the ticket cashout kiosk),” Brum added.
In the meantime, the OLG will be hiring five new part-time slot attendants and seven part-time count attendants. The gaming corporation’s slots operation department will also fill eight full-time and 20 part-time electronic game positions.
Neither the union nor OLG could cite the hourly wage being paid to the laid-off workers.