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Apr
2013
29

MD Casino Not Only Being Built Under PLA, Will Employ Unionized Workers in Permanent Jobs



Nearly a month after the announcement that the new Horseshoe Casino in Maryland would be built under a worker-friendly Project Labor Agreement (PLA), cause for celebratation doubled down with the announcement that a deal brokered by UNITE HERE to unionize jobs at the casino is nearing completion. The $375 million dollar casino, which will be built in downtown Baltimore, will create 1,200 permanent jobs.

The deal was struck between local unions and the casino’s developer, Caesars Entertainment Corp.:

UNITE HERE’s arrangement with Caesars is part of multi-union pact that is expected to see nearly all of the workers at the casino become union members, says UNITE HERE Local 7 President Roxie Herbekian. The deal provides for a “card check” procedure to allow unions to be certified once a majority of workers have signed union cards, paired with a neutrality pledge from Caesars that it will not actively oppose unionization, she says.

Other local unions that will be organizing at the casino under the agreement will be units of the Teamsters, the United Auto Workers, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The five unions will have jurisdiction over food and catering, parking, card dealers and other gambling, building operation and maintenance, and entertainment production.

On Saturday, April 20th, potential casino workers held a rally to open the door to organization:

“If you’re going to get a public benefit, if you’re going to get public money, you should provide something that’s going to be good for the community and what Baltimore needs more than anything is a good paycheck,” said Roxie Herbekian, president of Unite Here.

The jobs that come with a major project like this sometimes don’t live up to the developer’s hype. By diving in union-first before construction even begins, workers are able to temper this disappointing prospect:

“We’re tired of failed development. Fair development means developers will provide good jobs for Baltimore residents. There’ll be money that goes into our schools and into our rec centers,” [Herbekian] said.

UNITE HERE President D. Taylor told attendees of the rally that they needed to demand action and not rely on a government increasingly hostile towards union membership.

“We have to rely on each other,” Taylor told the crowd, in an implied rebuke to Democratic Party leaders who have failed to support union workers in organizing efforts at Caesars, and elsewhere. “We can never rely on the government. The government will always do the bidding of big business. … It is up to us to get them to do the right thing.”

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