The ongoing strike at Cascade Casino Kamloops has frustrated everyone. The British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) is unhappy. The union claims that on two separate occasions, its members were deliberately hit by vehicles outside Cascade Casino in Kamloops. On 29 June 2018 over 700 casino workers walked off their jobs. The strike is due to wage disputes with Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton employers.
Picketing a Dangerous Activity
Members of the BCGEU are concerned for their safety when picketing. The striking casino employees protest outside the Cascade Casino Kamloops where pedestrians pass. The picketers have set up picket lines and did not block any entrances. The workers stay within the pavements away from the road. Their safety measures are baring no fruits as cars coming in and out of the casino are the real danger. The BCGEU is pleading with motorists to respect pickets and cause them no harm.
Social Media’s Account of Events
On Friday 6 July 2018, a post made its way to a Kamloops Facebook group. The post reported that a Cascade Casino worker had his foot run over by a driver trying to cross the picket line. The post has since been deleted but caused a lot of attention.
Social media users are divided on the incidents. One camp of users says that the picketers are blocking vehicles from entering the casino on purpose. Other users are saying motorists are driving aggressively around picketers in Kamloops.
The Police’s Account of Events
During both incidents (on 4th and 8th July 2018) the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were called to the scene. According to police reports, in both situations, a vehicle was attempting to go into the casino’s parking lot. A picketer was standing, blocking the roadway. The picketer then reports feeling they were hit by the vehicle or bumped by the vehicle.
The RCMP has spoken to witnesses on both occasions. The police can not confirm if picketers were hit or not at this moment. Investigations are still on-going.
The BCGEU’s Account of Events
The BCGEU claims that cars do not respect the picket lines. Instead, motorists are choosing to head directly into the picket lines, thus injuring striking workers.
The BCGEU has reported that one picketer was taken to hospital in an ambulance. The other picketer was advised to follow up with his family practitioner after being bumped by a vehicle in the shins.
Strike End in Sight
Between 9th – 11th July 2018, the union and Gateway Casinos will be in mediated talks. If the union and employer reach wage agreements, the strike could be over soon.