New casino uniforms too sexy, workers say - Wednesday 30th of April 2008

As Casino Windsor gears up for its June unveiling under the Caesars brand, some female beverage workers are decrying a new, toga-like, uniform as too revealing.

"I feel its inappropriate," says one worker who, along with others interviewed by The Star, asked that their names not be used for fear of losing their jobs. Confidentiality agreements signed at the time of their hiring prohibits them from speaking publicly about casino business, they said.

"Im not putting down the casino because I enjoy working there. I just feel showing half of my body is inappropriate," the worker said.

The skirt is really, really short. The top is very low-cut. It looks more like a tennis skirt with slits in the front and back where you have to wear panties underneath. So, if you have to wear panties underneath you know its too short."

About a month ago, the approximately 120 full-time and part-time servers -- most of whom are women -- were given their first look at the company-issued uniform -- for women, a cream-coloured dress with specially designed panties. It also comes with a matching bolero jacket.

They would start wearing the outfits once the casino officially becomes Caesars with a grand re-opening in June, showcasing a $400-million expansion.

Not all employees are against the new look.

"Theyre absolutely beautiful, elegant," gushed one worker. "The uniforms are their decor, thats what Caesars wants, and I am excited to meet their standards."

Currently, employees wear a black uniform consisting of a waist-level jacket, multi-coloured top, and the choice of slacks or a skort.

Pam Leach, third vice-president of CAW Local 444, says the union plans to discuss concerns about the new uniform with casino management.

"When the company comes out with new uniforms obviously it doesnt please everyone, so what we have done in the past with the company is sit down with them where theres a concern -- whether it be too revealing, too short, too tight, things of that nature. Weve been able to sit down with the company and work through that. We have met with management, and they have agreed to sit with us and discuss those concerns hopefully within the next little while."

Holly Ward, Casino Windsor spokeswoman, said the facility is undergoing an extensive makeover designed to give customers a Las Vegas-style Caesars experience. As front-line employees, beverage workers are key to the success of the launch, she adds.

"To do that, all the Casino Windsor logos have to go. We have to make sure were living the Caesars brand on our property. We have employees going through training on how to live the brand, so when customers come they truly have the Caesars experience. Part of that experience is looking like a Caesars property as well."

Ward said employees in "dozens of departments are getting new uniforms." The new uniforms for beverage workers are similar to those worn by their counterparts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, she said.

But, Windsor is not Las Vegas, said the worker who thinks the new uniform exposes too much skin. "Las Vegas is totally different. Theyve got showgirls. None of us is that showgirl type."

The new uniforms could create embarrassing problems for servers as they perform their duties, she added.

"When were serving to slot areas, were working with a cart. As were cleaning, theres a little tray at the bottom where we throw the empties, When youre bending over, people are going to see everything.

"Theyre not there to see us, theyre there to gamble and have fun and I dont feel showing what we have is appropriate for the job were doing."

She also fears the new look will elicit lewd comments from customers. "Its sexist and were not there for that."

Another beverage employee estimated that at least 80 per cent of the female staff are against the new look.

"We have females servers in their 50s and 60s," the worker said. "Weve got a couple of female servers who unfortunately have had a mastectomy. How do you think that makes them feel?

"In Vegas, they can say: We want a cocktail server whos 26 years old, five-foot nine-inches, with measurements of 36-22-34, and they can get away with that. We dont have anyone that would fit the qualifications of Vegas-style cocktail server."

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