WINDSOR, Ont. -- Workers at the Caesars Windsor hotel-casino in southwestern Ontario walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. Friday after rejecting a tentative contract agreement.

Unifor Local 444 said 59 per cent of the workers voted against a deal that had been reached just minutes before a strike deadline late Tuesday.

"There's a lot they liked in the agreement, but ultimately, there's a lot of anger, disrespect they feel they've gotten from the employer," local president James Stewart said.

"We fully endorsed the agreement," he added. "There were some good gains in the agreement and I think the members recognized that, but we fell short in being able to ratify it."

The 2,300 striking workers include dealers, cooks, housekeepers and janitors who had voted more than 98 per cent last month in favour of a strike to support their contract demands.

Kevin Laforet, a regional president with Caesars Entertainment, said the ratification result is disappointing and called the tentative deal "fair and sustainable."

"We will be meeting with Unifor to discuss the next steps," he said in a statement.

Stewart said, however, that there were no immediate plans to resume bargaining.

"We called the casino immediately upon getting the answer and the casino didn't say anything about getting back to the table."

The casino said a shutdown process began at 11 p.m. and that the facility would be closed to the public until a new agreement is reached and ratified.

"I personally want to apologize for any inconvenience this causes our customers," said Laforet.