On the Picket Line

Southern Indiana casino workers fight for new contract

By Maggie Trowe
October 12, 2020

ELIZABETH, Ind. — Members of UNITE HERE Local 23, Teamsters Local 89 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399, all of whom are in contract negotiations with Caesars casino here, carried out a march through the casino as well as informational picket lines Sept. 4.

The workers are demanding a wage raise and improved health care coverage. They were laid off when the casinos were shut down in March because of coronavirus and then reopened June 15.

“After our contract expired Feb. 1,” David Moore, 47, a slot machine rep for 23 years at Caesars, told the Militant, the bosses “offered us a 13-cent raise!”

Another big issue for workers is the expensive medical insurance, since many “can’t afford to go to the doctor because the deductible is several thousand dollars,” Moore said. “In 2001 I had cancer and went through surgery and treatments and I only paid $2,000 out of pocket. But a few years ago I had my gall bladder removed and it took me two years to pay for it.”

The same day, the unionists held an all-day honk-and-wave informational picket in the parking lot of Daisy’s Country Kitchen, a popular eatery in New Albany, which most people drive past on their way to the casino.