British Columbia

Largest casino in B.C. Kootenays to unionize

Employees at the largest casino in the Kootenays have voted to bring in a union.

BCGEU to represent 84 workers at St. Eugene casino resort

St. Eugene, which is between Cranbrook and Kimberley, was a former Catholic mission. (

Employees at the largest casino in the Kootenays have voted to bring in a union.

The BCGEU will represent the 84 employees of the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino between Cranbrook and Kimberley, after two-thirds of the workers voted to unionize last week.

"Many of the workers decided to join the BCGEU essentially because they wanted respect in the work place, and the union to address some key issues such as wages, job security, seniority and fairness," said BCGEU spokesperson Erin Sikora.

Workers who deal cards, clean rooms and check in guests currently make between $10-15 an hour, plus tips.

"The next step for staff over there is to elect a negotiating committee. They'll develop bargaining priorities and sit down for contract talks with the employer," Sikora added.

The employer did not return calls about being unionized.

'The Mission,' as it's known locally, was a former residential school and Catholic mission that was established to bring Christian education to interior First Nations. The school was closed in 1970, and largely abandoned for two decades.

In the early 2000s, the historic building and grounds was converted into a golf resort and casino, which is now operated by the local Ktunaxa Nation in partnership with the Samson Cree Nation and the Mnjikaning First Nations.

With files from the CBC's Bob Keating