Unionized workers from Hollywood Casino Toledo and its sister facility in Columbus, Ohio, have yet to settle on a new contract, as their previous agreement expired at the end of last year. Negotiators are optimistic, though, that members will ratify a deal early next week.
Just days before Christmas, negotiators from the United Steelworkers and the United Auto Workers unions, representing approximately equal numbers of employees at two casinos, reached a tentative four-year, four-month agreement with Penn Entertainment a few hours before the employees were due to strike.
But the workers rejected that deal “by a pretty good margin,” sending bargainers back to the table in recent weeks, said Eric Sweeney, staff representative for International Steelworkers Local 1-346, who has been involved in the talks. On Wednesday, the unions and Penn reached a new tentative agreement that addresses several concerns raised by the membership, Sweeney said, as reported by The Blade.
A vote by members is expected Monday. There are about 900 unionized workers between the two casinos. The newly negotiated contract would be a year shorter, at three years and four months, compared to the one hashed out in December. Sweeney said it would increase pay for workers in the front end of the contract, which would “soften the blow everyone is dealing with on inflation.”
In the first year, non-tipped workers would get a 4.5% wage increase. Tipped employees will get a $1 bump in base pay, plus a 2% uptick. Sweeney said that most unionized workers at the two casinos are tipped. The raises will be retroactive to December 1, when the last contract expired.
Sweeney said many members raised concerns about the longer length of the contract, as initially proposed. They wanted to be able to return to make potential changes sooner, he said, especially given inflation and a changing economy.
Penn is one of the nation’s largest gaming companies, with 40 locations, including four in Ohio.