Court rules picketers at Kelowna, Vernon casinos can't protest on casino property | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Court rules picketers at Kelowna, Vernon casinos can't protest on casino property

August 31, 2018 - 1:02 PM

KELOWNA - Gateway Casinos won a significant legal victory recently barring the union that supports its workers from picketing at two Okanagan casinos.

Picketers can't protest in certain areas of the property of the Vernon and Kelowna Gateway Casinos, after the casinos' parent company was granted an injunction because the picketers were trespassing on its property.

One property in particular is a causeway at the Kelowna casino which customers use to enter the building, according to a written decision by Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck on Aug. 13. Gateway said in the court case that the picketing in that area was making customers uncomfortable.

"They have also placed chairs, picket signs and what is described as other paraphernalia on the causeway," Affleck said. "The general manager of the Kelowna casino believes customers are uncomfortable when walking on the causeway because of the presence of the picketers. Space on the causeway is limited and at times as many as eight picketers are present on it."

Gateway also sought in the injunction a restraint on picketers on the Vernon casino's property, and one of the issues mentioned was signage. Counsel for the B.C. Government and Services Employees' Union argued that the picketers had a lawful right to be there, and weren't trespassing.

"The evidence before me is that the picketers on the plaintiff's Vernon property have been directed by representatives of the plaintiff to leave its premises, and they have refused to do so. On those facts the picketers are trespassers," Affleck said.

Affleck added that the picketers are able to protest, just not on Gateway's property. He granted the injunction which will bar picketers from being on the causeway near the Kelowna casino, and from the property of the Vernon casino.

The union and Gateway are expected to meet again at the bargaining table next week. Employees of the casino have been engaged in a strike for two months, and the battle has grown more volatile over time.

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