For immediate release
January 26, 2005
Clare Fauke, UNITE HERE Local 1
312-663-4373x247, or (cell) 312-802-2302
Blue Chip Workers Ratify Agreement
Northwest Indiana Riverboat Contract Terms Released
Michigan City, IN-Last night workers at Blue Chip casino voted by a 97% margin to ratify a tentative agreement reached last week, averting a strike at the casino. UNITE HERE Local 1 represents 250 workers at the Blue Chip.
Blue Chip joins Harrah’s in East Chicago and Trump and Majestic Star Casinos in Gary in ratifying new five-year contracts. All settlements represent significant improvements in the economic package and job protection for service workers. Highlights include:
- Average increase in the economic package, including wages and benefits, of 7.66% per year;
- Enrollment in the Union’s health and welfare plan, which includes excellent prescription, doctor visit and hospitalization coverage;
- Affordable family health coverage: $65 monthly premium in 2005, down to $45 per month in 2006 and $30 per month in 2007 for dependents;
- Free individual health coverage; Wage increases: 40Â¢ per year for non-tipped workers, 20Â¢ for tipped workers;
- Successorship language: Bargaining-unit jobs and union contracts are protected in the event of a sale;
- Protection against subcontracting: Casinos are prohibited from subcontracting bargaining unit jobs or reducing workers’ hours. Only limited service fast-food outlets may be subcontracted.
“We are pleased to achieve settlements which are far beyond where the industry wanted to go,” says Henry Tamarin, UNITE HERE Local 1 President and chief negotiator. “The solidarity of the workers and support of the community, especially other unions, helped us achieve this victory. We did not get everything we wanted and have more work to do, but are extremely proud of this contract.”
Tamarin notes that the average annual economic increase for union workers in the service industry was 4.7% for the year ending in September 2004.
Daniel Abraham, Lead Organizer for UNITE HERE Local 1 adds, “Our achievements, particularly in the area of health insurance and job security, are a testament to the toughness and solidarity of these workers and their organizing committee.”
“My co-workers came together to win the wages and benefits we need to take care of our families,” says Lisa Taylor, a five-year Harrah’s housekeeper and member of the negotiating committee. “I’m proud that I’ll able to provide good health coverage for my son.”