The poker room at Casino de Montreal is closed as dozens of dealers are on strike over pay and working conditions.
According to the Montreal Gazette, the dealers strike kicked off Saturday morning. Workers are seeking concessions from Loto-Québec, which operates the casino.
A union rep told the Montreal Gazette that dealers have been battling overuse injuries and are seeking longer breaks during shifts.
“One in two of our employees suffers physical injuries due to the nature of the work, which includes dealing nearly 10,000 cards a day, five to six days a week,” the union rep said. “After 15 years on the job, that starts to add up.”
Loto-Québec said that gaming tables, restaurants, slot machines, and shows are running as normal. The poker room is closed, however.
It appears the strike involves more than just poker dealers, but poker typically make less money for a casino than table games, so if there’s a staffing shortage that would be the first to close.
“The collective agreement that regulates the working conditions of 521 dealers expired on March 31, 2020, with salaries and schedules among the issues at stake,” the report added.
Loto-Québec is also reportedly looking to implement a 10-percent wage reduction for new dealers, from the current $18.40 an hour to $17.44 an hour.
”In the current context of labour shortages, (the salary reduction) is irresponsible and the union will never accept it,” the union rep said. “We are demanding better management of work shifts and rest breaks to avoid injuries.”