For immediate release
February 27, 2010
TORONTO– Hospitality workers who were abruptly locked out of one of the country’s highest earning racetracks will gather on Sunday morning at 11:30 am to press for an end to the lockout at Woodbine race track.
The workers, many of whom are women and people of colour, serve food and drinks, run the kitchens and work the concession stands at the race track. With four hours notice early Saturday morning, Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) abruptly shut its doors to 329 workers after a proposal it tabled failed to meet provisions for its lowest paid workers that the union representing the workers had asked for. Rather than let UNITE HERE union members vote on its proposal, WEG locked the members out.
Despite the fact that Woodbine Entertainment Group made $140 million in 2008 and wagering increased by 7% last year, a third of its employees work part-time at low wages and have absolutely no benefits, according to UNITE HERE, the union representing the workers. WEG has also enjoyed significant tax breaks from the City of Toronto to stimulate jobs and the local economy.
Date: Sunday February 28, 2010
Time: 11:30 am
Location: Woodbine Race Track, 555 Rexdale Blvd (at Hwy 427)
"These negotiations were really focussed on seeing what we could do for the neediest people who deliver services at Woodbine," says Paul Clifford, President of UNITE HERE Local 75. "If WEG is going to operate as a not-for-profit organization that enjoys significant gaming revenues and support from the city, then it has a duty to provide good stable jobs in our communities."