In light of the recent Gateway Casino layoffs, SaultOnline reached out to the United Steelworkers, the union representing the casino employees, to hear the thoughts on the other end of the spectrum.
We spoke with Marc Ayotte, Area Coordinator for North Western Region – district 6. When asked about what is being done in response to the layoffs, Mr. Ayotte had said “Our main concern is making sure our unionized members are being well represented. As we are aware of the layoffs, we will make sure we hold Gateway accountable when it comes to proper procedures. We will be there each step of the way to be sure the steps are done properly and every step is followed lawfully”.
As jobs are a livelihood for members of the community, it is a touchy subject. “It is never easy when speaking for someone who is going to, or already has lost their job.” said Ayotte, who followed up with “Gateway has stated they are creating 1,000 new jobs with the creation of new casinos across Ontario, but the fact of the matter is that these jobs are not in Sault Ste. Marie, and we are extremely disappointed to learn that.”
Also in the statement from Gateway, it was said that company employees who do find themselves being laid off can apply for any number of the new jobs which will be created as the new casinos open across Ontario in the span of two years. Places such as Sudbury and North Bay are new homes for the expanding Gateway company.
In response, Ayotte simply said “It is not practical to expect that hard working people in Sault Ste. Marie are just able to get up and move once they have lost their job.” “We wish there were no layoffs, as losing a job is a major impact to someone’s life, but as said before, we are working closely with Gateway to ensure both our side and theirs take the proper way to go about the events unfolding over the next coming weeks”.
You can read the original statement Gateway released Here.