Kamloops business of the year has been under strike for four months - InfoNews

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Kamloops business of the year has been under strike for four months

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October 29, 2018 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS -  The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce awarded its best this weekend and named Cascades Casino as business of the year.

But the fact that casino workers have been on strike for four months in a labour dispute showing no sign of resolution did not go unnoticed.

Barb Nederpel, president of the Kamloops and District Labour Council, says the optics aren’t great.

"I think the Chamber of Commerce maybe missed the mark on granting this award without recognizing the contributions and the working conditions for the employees,” she says in a written statement. “But it is up to the company to make things right."

Roughly 400 people were on hand for the 32nd annual TD and Kamloops Chamber awards for top businesses in 2018 at the Coast Kamloops Conference Centre on Saturday, Oct. 27 where 17 winners from across the city were recognized. Cascades Casino Kamloops took home a community service award as well.

The casino is currently in the midst of a labour strike with the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union over wages. Since June 29, employees have been walking picket lines at Gateway casinos across the Thompson-Okanagan over issues regarding fair wages.

The controversy did not escape social media, as some people appeared shocked to see the company was the recipient of the award knowing that its employees have been on strike for more than four months.

Nederpel suggested those striking employees helped Cascades earn the community service award.

"I believe that the community service award was given to the Cascades Casino as a company, for honourably stepping up, feeding folks displaced by wildfires, for their work around the food bank, Christmas hampers, Breakfast for Kids," she says. "But it was actually the employees that were the ones on the front lines of these initiatives. It is their hard work, dedication, and compassion for their community that made these events successful.  And they did so, willingly."

The business of the year recipient was chosen by the winners of the other categories, according to a release from the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce. The other winners were determined by a selection committee made up of 50 community leaders.

675 unionized workers have been walking picket lines at Gateway Casino properties across the Thompson-Okanagan. On Oct. 17, Gateway Casino spokesperson Tanya Gabara said there was "no end in sight" for the strike affecting employees in Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton.

The two parties have not met for mediated talks in weeks.

For past stories on the labour dispute between the B.C. Government Employees' Union and Gateway casinos go here.

For the full list of finalists of the 2018 Kamloops Chamber top businesses go here.


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