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Caesars Windsor union to vote Fri. on ending strike

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Windsor Caesars Casino and hotel along the Detroit River in Windsor, Canada on July 8, 2016.

A 42-day-long labor strike at the Caesars Windsor Casino may be over soon.

Unifor Local 444, the union representing 2,300 casino workers, said it has reached a tentative agreement with the casino's operator.

"A tentative agreement has been reached at Caesars Windsor," union officials said Thursday on the local's Facebook page. "The location and time of the ratification meeting will follow and we are asking our members to continue to maintain the picket lines until further notice."

It also said in a post later Thursday morning that the vote to ratify the contract has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the WFCU arena and entertainment complex in Windsor.

In a video posted to the union's Facebook page, Dave Cassidy, the local's secretary-treasurer, told Canadian radio station CKLW (800 AM) the union is happy they could negotiate a deal.

"We're happy to announce that we have a tentative agreement in place and that we can get our members back to work," he said. "We're very happy with the agreement that we're going to be bringing back."

Casino officials confirmed Thursday there would be a ratification vote. They had no further comment. 

Last week, the two sides said the major stumbling block was wages.

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 offered would have been 9 percent over the three years.

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

The strike, which began April 5, forced the casino to cancel a number of shows and hotel bookings.

The shows will be rescheduled at an undetermined date, according to casino officials. 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.

Hotel reservations for May were canceled, but bookings for after that remain valid, it also said.