Playing roulette with labor rights

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Working men and women at Resorts World Casino hit the jackpot last week in what is sure to become a benchmark agreement for casino labor statewide.

More than 1,400 employees who work at the Racino and are represented by the Hotel Trades Council (HTC) are celebrating a groundbreaking contract that will raise their wages from an average $10.15 an hour to an average $19.91. In subsequent years, the contract provides a majority of the workers with salaries of more than $60,000 annually.  Additionally, the new contract grants paid sick days, holidays, personal days, vacation days, and free family health care.

The victory was made possible thanks to labor peace agreements that prohibited strikes. Instead, amicable negotiations took place that did not disrupt operations at the Racino.

The impact of doubling the salaries of more than a thousand workers at a southern Queens business is sure to have a direct and positive effect on the local economy.

Despite the Mayor’s continual jabs at the labor movement, contract negotiations like these can lift people out of poverty and put them on the pathway to the middle class.

HTC and Resorts World Casino showed us that labor can be treated with the respect it deserves without driving away business. The real gamble is the one we take when we treat those in our workforce as second-class citizens.

City Comptroller John C. Liu