On the Picket Line

Indiana casino workers march for wage raise, health coverage

By Jacquie Henderson
and Ryan Deason
March 23, 2020

ELIZABETH, Ind. — More than 100 casino workers and their supporters marched through Caesars Southern Indiana casino here Feb. 26 to demand a wage raise and improved health care coverage.

The workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 23, Teamsters Local 89 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399, have been negotiating with the company since their contract expired Feb. 1. They say that the bosses have offered raises of just 13 to 25 cents an hour. 

“I have worked for Caesars for over 11 years and still make under $12 an hour,” VIP lounge worker Terri Mitchell told the Militant. “We can’t live on these kinds of wages. And our health insurance is expensive — the deductibles are so high it’s hard to use.” 

Mike Johnson, who has worked at the casino for 20 years, said, “After my knee replacement I had to fight to try to get them to cover physical therapy and medications.”

The crowd applauded when Ryan Deason announced he came in solidarity with other Walmart workers from across the river in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Workers from Caesars Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, who voted to unionize last December, joined the rally. “We will be here anytime you ask for our support,” said Taylor Cox, a union bartender from the casino there.