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Caesars Windsor cancellations pile up

The Detroit News

Windsor — As a labor strike enters its second month, Caesars Windsor has canceled shows and hotel bookings for the rest of May.

This is the third time the casino has announced a string of cancellations since the work stoppage began April 5.

The casino has been closed since the beginning of the strike.

Meanwhile, the two sides are no closer to resolving their dispute than when negotiations broke off April 18. No talks are scheduled.

The major stumbling block is wages, said the two sides.

The casino offered a wage increase of $1.75 per hour over three years to the 1,345 full-time workers and 567 part-time employees. The casino said the average wage rate is $18.67 per hour, so the increase would have been 9 percent during the three years.

The casino also offered a signing bonus of $1,150 to full-time workers and $900 to part-time employees.

The union, Unifor Local 444, declined to say what it was asking for.

But union officials criticized the casino for not returning to the bargaining table.

“Our members want to be back on their jobs,” the union said in a statement. “It’s past time for Caesars to recognize that.”

The casino declined to discuss additional aspects of the negotiations.

In announcing the latest cancellations, Kevin Laforet, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, said he wanted to give customers who planned to stay at the hotel or attend the shows enough time to make alternate plans.

“This is a difficult message to release again,” he said, referring to the earlier cancellations.

The latest shows to be canceled because of the labor dispute are rapper Pitbull for May 25, country singer Lee Brice on May 26 and Irish singer Daniel O’Donnelly on May 27.

The shows will be rescheduled at an undetermined date, said the casino. People with tickets to the concerts can hold onto them or, if they want a refund, it will be processed once the casino reopens, it said.

While hotel reservations for the rest of May will be canceled, ones after that will remain booked, at least for the time being, said the casino.