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Workers Steal Baby, Lose Jobs
August 7, 2009 permalink
Two stories about Caesars Windsor. In the first, a woman left her baby girl in her car to play in the casino, checked on the girl an hour later, continued playing for another half hour until security found the baby and called police. Children's aid took the baby. In the second, more than a hundred employees of Caesars Windsor were laid off. No members of the CAW union seem to have noticed a connection between alienating customers by stealing their children, and loss of business. A real business provides daycare for its customers.
Baby left as mom gambles
6-month-old in car at parking garage for 11/2 hours
Trevor Wilhelm, The Windsor Star, Friday, August 07, 2009
Police and child protection workers rescued a six-month-old infant early Thursday after her mother allegedly abandoned her in a car and went "on a roll" gambling at the casino.
When Caesars Windsor security discovered the little girl around 12:30 a.m., she'd been locked alone in the vehicle about an hour and a half and was "sweating profusely," police said.
"After she turned the baby over to CAS she asked if she could go in and cash in her chips," said Sgt. Brett Corey. "They asked her why she left the baby in the car as long as she did and she said 'I was on a roll at the table.'
"Common sense dictates that infants of that age or any age need to be afforded the necessities of life and should be under constant supervision. It's certainly troubling and concerning to us that somebody would consider a gambling addiction more important than their own child. That's why we're treating it as seriously as we are."
The 32-year-old Tilbury woman is banned from Caesars Windsor property, under threat of arrest if she ever returns, and is facing charges of criminal negligence and child abandonment. The Children's Aid Society seized the baby. She appears to be OK, police said.
Corey said the woman parked the car and left her baby girl there at 10:55 p.m. Wednesday. Video surveillance shows she came back to the car around midnight.
"Doesn't open the vehicle, just looks in the window, sees the baby and goes back into the casino," said Corey.
A security officer making the rounds in the parking garage discovered the infant around 12:30 a.m. when he noticed her little hand moving. By the time police arrived, the casino had paged the woman and she was at the car holding the baby.
"She admitted to having a gambling problem," said Corey. "Her husband was unaware that she was at the casino. She had told him she was elsewhere with the baby."
The casino denied her request to go back and cash in her winnings.
"We're just appalled by this situation," said casino spokeswoman Holly Ward. "We never ever want to see this happen."
She said casino security monitors the parking garage for any potential problems, but she added the onus to make sure kids are safe lies with the parents.
"I think it should be clear this a parenting issue, it's not a casino issue," she said.
"This is a parenting issue, and we're not in the parenting business. And frankly, it's very unique that this actually happened here."
But it wasn't the first time such a thing occurred in Windsor, at the casino and elsewhere.
In Oct. 2004, the CAS took one-year-old, five-year-old and seven-year-old siblings into protective custody after the older child called 911 to say their mother left them at home while she went to play bingo. Police could hear crying from outside the house.
In May 1998, two Michigan women abandoned nine children in a car while they gambled at the interim casino. In July 1997, cleaning staff at the Compri Hotel found four children, aged seven, six, four and one, alone in a room while their parents gambled in the casino.
Earlier that year police found a seven-year-old and an infant who was still bottle-fed alone in a car. It was so cold the car windows were frosted over.
Two years before that, a Scarborough woman left nine- and five-year-old children alone in a room at the Quality Suites Inn while she went to Casino Windsor. The CAS showed up after the desk clerk got a call from a crying child.
"When you have one case, that's too many," said Tina Gatt, manager of public relations and prevention for CAS.
"We have seen situations like this that have played out in the media in the past around kids left in cars, and the casino has been sighted as the location for some of those."
But she said it's much more common to get calls about parents leaving young kids unsupervised at home or alone in a car while shopping.
"Supervision in general is an issue that we contend with all the time," said Gatt. "Parents think their kids are old enough or it's safe enough or they just don't have the means to find appropriate child care or other provisions."
Leaving kids in a car is particularly dangerous during the summer, she said.
"This is concerning this time of year because it's hot," said Gatt. "We advocate against leaving your pets in the car. We can't leave children in the car either.
"There are just so many variables that are a risk to the child's safety. Just don't do it."
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Source: Windsor Star
Caesars Windsor lays off 100 workers
By Dalson Chen, The Windsor Star, July 28, 2009
WINDSOR, Ont. -- More than 100 workers at Caesars Windsor were laid off Monday, and the union that represents them fears more job cuts are coming.
“We’re working with casino management … to try to save as many full-time jobs as we can. But if business doesn’t pick up, I suspect there are probably going to be more layoffs farther down the road,” said Rick Laporte, president of CAW Local 444.
All the people who received notice of their indefinite layoff worked in the casino’s food and beverage department.
Laporte said he believes the situation is the result of diminished business at Caesars Windsor because of the new U.S. passport requirement at the border.
“Obviously, they’re reducing hours at their restaurants,” Laporte said.
“The business has shifted to the weekend. During the week, it’s very slow at the casino, at this point.”
Asked what department he believes might be hit with layoffs next, Laporte replied: “I think you’re looking at the whole casino in general. Obviously, when you have less people coming to the casino, it’s going to take less people to service it. Whether it be gaming staff, food and beverage staff, or whatever. Even the hotel is down.… It’s concerning, all around.”
Caesars Windsor spokeswoman Holly Ward said 68 full-time and 33 part-time employees were laid off Monday.
While Ward acknowledged that casino business has been “softening,” she described the layoffs as part of the casino’s “restructuring” to meet the demands of a changing business environment.
“We anticipated this would happen,” said Ward, pointing to such factors as the economy, the exchange rate, and the passport requirement.
Caesars Windsor eateries Augustus Cafe, Artist Cafe, Legends Sports Bar and Market Buffet will have new weekend-focused hours effective July 28. Neros, the casino’s steakhouse, will have new hours effective Aug. 3.
Despite the layoffs, Ward said the casino’s revision of its restaurant hours has created 19 new positions: three full-time and 16 part-time.
Asked if further “restructuring” could lead to more layoffs, Ward said none are planned at the moment, and she’s not in a position to speculate.
But Laporte said he fears the job situation will get worse before it gets better. He predicted that casino business will slow even more once the summer season ends.
However, Laporte quashed rumours that the contracts for unionized casino workers will be renegotiated. “The casino has not come to us and asked us to open up our collective agreements, at this point in time,” he said.
Chris Edwards, executive director of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, said other downtown businesses also immediately suffered after the new passport rule at the border came into effect on June 1.
“Right away, we saw a big dip in our downtown traffic,” Edwards said.
But Edwards added that, so far this month, he’s noticed an encouraging number of downtown customers from the U.S., and he hopes it’s a sign that people are growing accustomed to the border change.
Laporte echoed Edwards’s sentiments.
“Everybody’s hope is that (potential U.S. customers) eventually go out and get a passport, and decide to come back to Caesars Windsor,” Laporte said. “It might be a slow process to get everybody on board.”
Joseph Rino, a CAW Local 444 member who has worked at the casino for 13 years, was still awaiting confirmation on Monday about his status as a server in the Artist Cafe
Rino said he was told not to come in for his Monday afternoon shift, and he must report to the human resources office today.
“How are you supposed to be prepared for something like this?” asked Rino, a 36-year-old father of two.
Source: Windsor Star