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Indiana casino workers protest for better benefits

Employees of the Majestic Star Casino in Gary donned red t-shirts as part of a public protest on Labor Day in an attempt to improve the benefits package being offered to them by the owners of the casino. The protests were organized by UNITE HERE Local 1, the labor union which represents the casino workers.

The Majestic Star Casino has emerged from bankruptcy and experienced several ownership changes in its 17-year existence. The current casino owners are proposing to reduce full-time employees to 30 hours weekly. In addition, the casino owners would like for employees to either pay for their own health insurance or switch to a lesser plan used by non-union workers. The protesting employees feel that the benefit changes proposed by the current owners represent a serious downgrade of their employee compensation package.

Since September 2012, the casino workers have been working without an employment contract. A spokesperson from UNITE HERE Local 1 maintains that the casino owners are reneging on the promises that were made to local political leaders and to the local community that jobs in the casino would be solid and reliable. The casino workers hope that their protest will send a signal to the current casino ownership that they are willing to fight for better benefits.

Because the outcome of employment contract negotiations can have a tremendous impact on an individual's economic well-being, it could be beneficial to seek professional help. Attorneys working in the area of employment law may be able to help their clients to navigate the negotiation process and educate them about their rights under the law.

Source: Post-Tribune, "Majestic Star Casino employees protest, call for fair contracts", Carrie Napoleon, September 02, 2013

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