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updated: 3/13/2014 10:17 PM

Workers march outside of casino

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  • Organizer Maria Martinez chants slogans into a bullhorn Thursday as Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and other allies marched outside the Des Plaines casino, calling for better working conditions and the chance to join a union.

       Organizer Maria Martinez chants slogans into a bullhorn Thursday as Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and other allies marched outside the Des Plaines casino, calling for better working conditions and the chance to join a union.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Jessica Levin of Chicago marched Thursday alongside Rivers Casino workers and Chicago hospitality workers.

       Jessica Levin of Chicago marched Thursday alongside Rivers Casino workers and Chicago hospitality workers.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Cathy Reynolds, right, of Manhattan, Ill., and Matt Johnson of Chicago hold a banner Thursday during a protest outside Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

       Cathy Reynolds, right, of Manhattan, Ill., and Matt Johnson of Chicago hold a banner Thursday during a protest outside Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and other supporters march Thursday along River Road to call for better working conditions at Rivers and the chance for casino employees to join a union.

       Rivers Casino workers, Chicago hospitality workers and other supporters march Thursday along River Road to call for better working conditions at Rivers and the chance for casino employees to join a union.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

Some 100 Rivers Casino employees, Chicago-area hospitality workers and other union supporters marched outside of the Des Plaines casino Thursday, calling for better working conditions and the chance to join a union.

Officials with UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents some 15,000 hospitality workers in the Chicago area, organized the march.

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Since last October, they've led efforts to unionize Rivers employees, including cocktail servers, kitchen staff, other food and beverage workers and janitors.

The union has filed 55 unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Union officials said in a news release that the casino's management has threatened the loss of benefits, ordered union fliers thrown in the trash and held captive-audience meetings.

Rivers Casino spokesman Dennis Culloton has said the filing of charges with the NLRB "is a common tactic for UNITE HERE to generate media attention and awareness."

"We take great pride in our team and respect the rights of our team members to choose," Culloton said in a statement.

"So far, the overwhelming majority of our team members have consistently chosen to remain independent. That is their choice and their right."

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