Press-Democrat: Graton casino workers voting on union

Larry Smith gave a cheer as he signed his union card Tuesday in a conference room at the Graton Resort and Casino.

Smith, who has worked as a porter in the maintenance department since the casino opened just outside of Rohnert Park in November, said unionizing will result in labor practices that are more equitable.

“We want to speak with one voice,” he said. “A lot of people are scared to take sick days. We don’t want to feel scared.”

About 600 gambling, maintenance and food and beverage workers at the new casino, one of Sonoma County’s largest service employers, are deciding this week whether to join a union.

Representatives from Unite Here, which represents 100,000 workers at gambling sites in the U.S. and Canada, explained the benefits of the union to off-duty employees Tuesday.

“We help to protect their jobs,” said Wei-Ling Huber, president of Unite Here Local 2850 of Oakland. “You want to have transparency, fair rules, security for the long term. When given the choice, people overwhelmingly choose to be represented.”

Read the full article.