Labor
4:46 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Workers, Elected Officials Call on Rivers Casino to Let Employees Organize

Workers, community leaders and elected officials march to Rivers Casino, calling on the casino management to allow employees the ability to organize.
Workers, community leaders and elected officials march to Rivers Casino, calling on the casino management to allow employees the ability to organize.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Several dozen Rivers Casino workers, elected officials, union representatives and clergy members gathered on the North Shore Thursday to call on the casino management to allow employees to organize.

“We’re worried about some of the backlash, but at the same time we feel protected – we have a lot of community support," said Lisa Washington, a server at the casino’s Grandview Buffet. "We have a lot of support from our congressmen. We know we’re in for a long fight, but we’re ready.”

Rivers Casino employees Lisa Washington and Brittany Swiger hold up copies of a letter of support signed by community leaders and lawmakers.
Rivers Casino employees Lisa Washington and Brittany Swiger hold up copies of a letter of support signed by community leaders and lawmakers.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The workers marched to the casino and asked to speak with management but were turned away without word from the top. Members of the group said they are seeking equality in the work place and fair wages, among other things.

“We also are looking for opportunities for growth,” Washington said. “We want to be able to make a career out of working at this casino, not just a job. I love my job, but I want it to be more than that. I want to know there’s staying power for me.

Local and state elected officials joined the march, including Pittsburgh city council members Natalia Rudiak and Daniel Lavelle. State Sen. Jim Ferlo was also there.

Ferlo fought to get the Rivers Casino and said casinos provide thousands of jobs to Pennsylvanians.

“But we want quality jobs, we want family-sustaining jobs, and the best way to ensure that is for those employees at this casino to be represented democratically through a collective bargaining agreement,” he said.

Rivers Casino issued the following statement:

“We take great pride in our team and respect the rights of our employees to choose. So far, the majority of our employees have consistently chosen to remain independent. That is their choice and their right.”