Harrah’s Philadelphia Employees Ask PGCB For Support Amid Potential Strike

Written By Corey Sharp on December 13, 2023
Image of Harrah's Philadelphia Casino for a story about two Harrah's Philadelphia employees speaking at the PGCB meeting on Wednesday in regard to a potential strike over fair wages.

Two Harrah’s Philadelphia employees addressed the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) during its monthly meeting on Wednesday and asked for support in their quest to earn fair wages for workers.

The employees announced that members of Unite Here Local 54, Laborers Local 413 and Teamsters Local 107 organized a potential strike last month in an effort to increase wages at the Pennsylvania casino.

Harrah’s Philadelphia workers could go on strike to challenge pay

Unite Here Local 54 negotiates with Harrah’s Philadelphia on the pay and working conditions for employees. The union represents 150 employees at the casino, such as cooks, bartenders, cage cashiers and warehouse employees.

Back in October, members of the aforementioned unions organized a public three-hour picket line protest outside Harrah’s Philadelphia to voice their displeasure.

Harrah’s Philadelphia employee, Robert Pate, addressed the PGCB during the public comment portion of the meeting. He announced as of Nov. 19, union members are 98% in favor of a strike, and negotiating members can call for one at any time.

Pate said that Harrah’s Philadelphia paid more than $100 million in taxes over FY 2022/2023. A strike at the Chester casino could put the following at risk, according to Pate:

  • $193,000 in average total daily gaming taxes
  • $134,000 in taxes per day to Pennsylvania
  • $18,000 per day to the Gaming Economic Development and Tourism fund
  • $31,000 per day to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development fund
  • $8,900 in taxes per day to Delaware County

Pate said in front of the PGCB:

“For the first time in the history of Pennsylvania gaming, my coworkers and I voted to authorize a strike to hold operators accountable to the original promise. We are willing to take this fight on alone if we have to. But you can decide today, to help make sure that at least one small corner of our industry delivers to Pennsylvania workers. I’m asking each of you to call on Harrah’s Philadelphia to stop putting the revenue we generate for the state at risk, settle this contract and pay their workers a fair wage.”

Second Harrah’s Philadelphia employee addresses PGCB

The president of Unite Here Local 54, Donna DeCaprio, told PlayPennsylvania in October that she planned on using the PGCB in the future for help. After Pate spoke, a second Harrah’s Philadelphia employee, Mike Hamilton, also talked with the PGCB. He said:

“We just ask the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to let Harrah’s know that you’re monitoring the situation and expect them to live up to the promises that were made.”

Hamilton mentioned that he has to work two jobs in order to support his five children. DeCaprio told PlayPennsylvania that, in some cases, employees are making less than $10 per hour.

Pate and Hamilton explained that a strike is the last thing employees want to do. However, it might be necessary if Harrah’s Philadelphia doesn’t step up.

It could potentially help Harrah’s Philadelphia employees now that the PGCB is fully aware.

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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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