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Nov
2013
4

Unions, MGM Sign Labor Agreement for Proposed $925M National Harbor Casino Project

MGM Casino National Harbor Aerial

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While unveiling their proposed $925 million casino plan to a state panel last week, MGM International had representatives of four local unions by its side. The reason? A labor peace agreement that has been agreed to between the gaming giant and the labor organizations.

MGM is promising not to interfere with worker organization rights if they are granted the contract to build the new casino, according to the Washington Post:

MGM’s agreement paves the way for the vast majority of 4,000 permanent and 2,000 construction jobs MGM says it would create to have union representation, and it prompted many existing union workers to go to bat for the gaming giant’s bid.

Teamsters lined the street holding “Don’t PARX here” signs when proponents of a Parx Casino Hotel & Spa made their pitch to members of the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission.

Union workers from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor testified before the commission on MGM’s behalf.

The four unions on the labor peace agreement issued a press release saying MGM would “guarantee dignity in the workplace, living wages, and fair health and pension benefits.”

Even the fraternal order of police, Lodge 89, issued a statement saying MGM “has a solid record of cooperating and supporting law enforcement and first responders in the jurisdictions where they operate.”

Many of the Gaylord Hotel’s 1,200 employees are unionized and joined in supporting MGM’s bid.  The hotel is part of of the National Harbor development in which the new casino would reside. These workers are about to make a decision about a new contract that would mean a pay raise for many employees:

Gaylord workers are deciding Friday whether to ratify a new contract that would pay even some of the lowest level employees, among them housekeepers and dishwashers, $19.55 per hour (about $40,000 a year) beginning in May 2017, according to John Boardman, executive secretary-treasurer for the union, Unite Here Local 25. The benefits include $16,000 in annual employer contributions to health care plans and a pension.

Unite Here Local 21′s John Boardman called a potential MGM contract a victory for the middle class. He explained how the labor agreement will help future workers at the casino.

What our deal with MGM does is takes us, these four unions, and MGM, and sets up some ground rules about how the unions are to behave and how MGM will behave in the event the employees move to join a union,” Boardman said.

The average maid or housekeeping cleaner made $12.18 an hour in Maryland last year, or $25,340 annually. The average dishwasher made $9.24 an hour, or $19,220 annually.

A frequent pitfall of a project of this scale is that it is sold to the public as a monster job-creator, only to deliver unsustainable or sub-living wage caliber jobs. This agreement will allow for the creation of jobs that can help families rise up while allowing the free flow of unionization efforts should the workers choose that path.

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One Comment on “Unions, MGM Sign Labor Agreement for Proposed $925M National Harbor Casino Project”

  1. it took a lot of hard work, long hours, persistence and dedication to move the MD General Assembly to call for a 2nd special session to get the referendum on the ballot and then to win the statewide vote. Congratulations to the Washington, D.C. Building & Construction Trades.
    semper fraternus!

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