The following is from UNITE HERE on Thursday's action at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
On Thursday afternoon, over 100 Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and community allies rallied outside of Rivers Casino. They are calling for better working conditions and an end to management-led intimidation at Rivers. Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm is the chairman of the company that owns Rivers Casino.
Casino workers have been publicly seeking a fair process to decide whether to join a union since October 2013. Since then, casino management has embarked on an intimidation and harassment campaign that has prompted 55 federal unfair labor practice charges.
Workers claim that management has, among other tactics, threatened the loss of benefits, ordered union fliers thrown in the trash and held captive-audience meetings. In addition, they claim management has directed security personnel to escort union supporters from the dining room and has disciplined union supporters. These tactics can create a climate of fear, hindering employees from unionizing.
groups and opponents of around-the-clock casinos are urging
the Illinois Gaming Board to reject a proposal that would allow the state's 10 casinos to operate nonstop, seven days a week.
The gaming regulatory board heard arguments last month
about the push to extend the
current 22-hour operating limit for state casinos to 24 hours. As part of the proposal, backed by the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, casinos would decided on an individual basis whether to operate continuously.
Supporters say the
two extra hours would help boost revenue and allow casinos to better
compete with video gambling and slot machines at truck stops and bars as
well as 24-hour gambling houses in nearby states like Indiana and
But opponents say they are concerned that people with gambling problems will stay way past the 24 hours.
know that there are those horror stories where people sit more than 24
hours and gamble, and that’s not discretionary money, those are the
problem gamblers," said Jeanie Lowe, director of governmental affairs with the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, an anti-gambling organization.
"They usually are the ones who have to be asked to leave when (casinos)
close for those two hours, [and] maybe that’s the only time they go
home or they get away from the machines."
Yesterday at a Senate Executive Committee hearing, state gaming
officials said they would need to hire 300 additional people to
successfully implement a massive gaming expansion bill pending in the