On December 9, workers from Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino were joined by over 200 casino, hotel and airport workers and members of UNITE HERE Local 355. The members held an evening rally calling on Gulfstream to bargain a fair contract.
Despite the downturn in the economy, South Florida’s gaming industry is performing remarkably well. Revenues are up since new gaming regulations went into effect in July. Included in the new regulations: the reduction of slot taxes from 50% to 35%, high-limit poker and increased operating hours. "I’ve definitely seen more visitors coming in. Work is busier and people seem to be spending more – it’s a good sign," said Thurman Lennon, a cook at Gulfstream and member of Local 355’s elected leadership.
Unfortunately, Gulfstream is proposing drastic cuts: a 12-month wage freeze, cuts in holiday pay and cuts in vacation time. In this economy, workers agree that these cuts would have a devastating effect on hundreds of South Florida families. Local 355 member and Gulfstream cook Miguel Lizarraga understands what is at stake: "We can’t go backwards, and that is what the company is proposing. We need to stand strong for a good contract; one that we can all be proud of."