As snow began to fall earlier today, nearly 100 Rivers Casino employees marched from the Carnegie Science Center to their place of employment on the North Shore. The employees have been trying to start a union at the casino since April but claim they are being met with anti-union intimidation from management.
“I think what we’ve been doing the past seven months is showing them we have the power and we’re going to make the changes,” said Meredith Maloney, a two-year casino employee.
The march was part of a nationwide campaign calling for unionization at the Rivers Casino and two other casinos in Chicago and Philadelphia, all owned by Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm. In Pittsburgh there have been nearly 30 complaints filed against the casino with the National Labor Relations Board.
“We’re hitting them on all three fronts and we’re going to keep hitting them until we get a fair process,” said Matt Arling, a casino bartender.
As the employees approached the casino, a group of valet workers wearing anti-union hoodies looked on.
“Don’t be intimidated,” said Dorthy Hall, who has worked at the casino for two-and-a-half-years.
After showing their IDs in the lobby, the employees made their way upstairs to the executive offices in hopes of talking to Craig Clark, the casino’s general manager. But they were only able to leave a message with his receptionist.
“We know when we come here. They hide because they’re afraid of our power,” said Matt Fred Lapka, who works as a waiter. “Today the victory was the fact we all showed up.”
The march was organized by the Steel City Casino Workers Council, which is comprised of workers from UNITE HERE Local 57, Teamsters Local 211, Operating Engineers Local 95, and the United Steelworkers. UNITE HERE is an international union representing employees in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries.
We've reached out to River's Casino and will update with a response.
Rivers Casino issued the following statement:
“We take great pride in our team and respect the rights of our Team Members to choose. So far, the overwhelming majority of our Team Members have consistently chosen to remain independent,” said Mike Gross, Rivers Casino spokesperson.