Resorts World Catskills Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify Their New Contract!

April 15, 2020 6:00PM

On Monday, March 30th, the workers at Resorts World Catskills ratified their second HTC contract through an online secret ballot vote. An overwhelming majority of 98% voted in favor or the agreement.

Negotiated before the Coronavirus outbreak, Resorts World Catskills signed onto the Greater Industry Wide Agreement (GRIWA), our union’s landmark master contract for upstate New York, Northern New Jersey and the suburbs of New York City. The GRIWA provides much needed security to the workers at Resorts World Catskills during this extremely difficult time in our country, securing rights, wages and benefits until March 31, 2023.

Ratifying Contracts During the Quarantine

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, HTC created a way for members to ratify agreements online via the Union’s website. The Resorts World Catskill’s ratification was the  first online ratification in our Union's history. 

 Workers were able to download and review the new contract on the Union’s website, and were provided with a hotline number so that they could speak to Union Representatives over the phone if they had questions. Unique voter keys were sent via text or email that allowed employees to cast their votes by secret ballot. 

The online ratification was a success with over 650 workers casting a secret ballot on March 30th and only 13 people voting against the contract.

“I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for my union in this time of national crisis,” said Alicia Schadt who works in the Players Club  “I am a single mother, and a sole provider. This agreement is a huge relief for my entire family.” 

Building on the Successes of the First Contract at Resorts World Catskills

HTC won its first GRIWA at the Resorts World Catskills on September 16, 2018, less than eight months after the casino opened. That initial contract provided many life-changing benefits ranging from wage increases, affordable health insurance, job protection against unfair discipline or discharge, and scheduling and seniority rights. 

 Negotiated before the Coronavirus outbreak, the new contract protects the provisions won in the first contract, while also making a number of major improvements.

Guaranteed Wage Increases 

In this moment of economic uncertainty, workers at Resorts World Catskills received a wage increase and will have guaranteed wages increases each April 1st for the next two years. 

In addition to these wage increases, other wage-related items (like extra room pay, cot pay, night shift differential, and extra game pay) will also increase annually. 

“I went from making $20.75 when I first started at the casino to $24.60 today, and $31.90 when I work shifts as a Dual Rate Dealer. For the first time in my life, I haven’t had to worry about how I'm going to pay my bills” says James Valenti a Table Games Dealer at the Casino. 

“During this economic and health crisis, when many of my loved ones and neighbors are worrying about what to do next, I’m guaranteed to get $3.20 more in increases and keep my healthcare for the next 6 months. To say I feel relieved doesn’t do it justice” said Stareese Morris, who works in EVS. 

A Secure Toke Rate

In addition to wage increases, the Union also won an increase to the secure minimum “toke rate” for Dealers and Slot Attendants. Now, during slow weeks, the casino will have to guarantee that these tipped employees receive the minimum “toke rate” or pay the difference between the minimum “toke rate" and the “toke rate” for the week.  

Healthcare Remains Affordable and is Secured During Coronavirus

In the midst of a global pandemic, every worker in this country should have access to affordable healthcare. Unfortunately the cost of healthcare increases year after year for most Americans. At Resorts World Catskills the Union was able to ensure that healthcare costs would remain affordable, and not rise. Employees with individual plans continue to pay $5 per month for their excellent health care, while those with a spouse or children on their plan pay $10 per month. The cost for full family coverage remains $100 per month. However starting April 1, 2021, employees will have the option of switching into the Industry Health Plan, a “gold” level plan, that has a the same contribution rate of $25 per month for individual or family plans.

In separate negotiations with the casino, the Union also secured 6 months of health insurance for HTC-represented workers laid off due to the coronavirus crisis at the casino so that laid off workers don't need to worry about having health insurance during this national pandemic.

Pension Benefit Established

The new union contract at Resorts World Catskills establishes an employer-funded pension benefit for HTC-represented employees, starting April 1, 2021.

In this day and age, it is virtually unheard of for employers to agree to establish a new pension benefit for employees. Unlike a 401K plan, the new pension benefit ensures that vested employees will receive a monthly check when they retire for a defined amount, based on their years of service, for the rest of their lives.

Resorts World Catskills employees currently have a 401K plan that the employer matches .50 for every $1.00 up to 4%. The workers will continue to keep their 401K and match once they become eligible for the pension.

Extra Holiday Pay

During the course of the new agreement, workers will receive 2 new holidays — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the day after Thanksgiving. This will bring the total to 9 paid holidays. 

The Workers are Relieved

As the votes reflect, the workers at the Resorts World Catskills were overwhelmingly satisfied with their new contract. This contract provides much needed security and protections during this period of national emergency.

“After Hurricane Maria, I moved my family from Puerto Rico to come work at Resorts World Catskills” says Marie Colon a Food Court Cashier at the Casino. “Our first Union contract came during a difficult transition for me and my family. Now, during another scary moment in our lives with the coronavirus, the Union is there to back us up.”