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Potential Casino Employees Rally For Workers’ Rights

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Potential workers for Baltimore’s new casino say they’ve already won a victory for workers’ rights–and the Horseshoe Casino doesn’t open for another year.

Gigi Barnett explains.

Less than two blocks away from the construction site of Baltimore’s new casino, potential workers are rallying. They want the chance to organize a union at the casino–if they’re hired. They want living wages and they want most of the workers to come from Baltimore City.

“If you’re going to get a public benefit, if you’re going to get public money, you should provide something that’s going to be good for the community and what Baltimore needs more than anything is a good paycheck,” said Roxie Herbekian, president of Unite Here.

Herbekian runs the Unite Here Local 7 union. It’s one of three groups joining up to launch a campaign to bring awareness to fair development.

She says the group has been in talks with casino developers to provide greater protection for workers for months, and a signed deal is almost on the table.

“We’re tired of failed development. Fair development means developers will provide good jobs for Baltimore residents. There’ll be money that goes into our schools and into our rec centers,” she said.

City workers and union members say the deck is stacked in their favor as this rally comes after voters approved the casino but before hiring begins.

“We help them make the millions, so if we’re helping you, why can’t you help us? That’s the bottom line,” said union member Gladys Burrell.

The $400 million casino is set to open in 2014.

After the rally, workers marched to the Inner Harbor, where they say many employees work without the benefit of unions.

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