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updated: 11/2/2012 5:55 PM

Some Rivers Casino employees might form union

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  • Bill Zars/bzars@dailyherald.comThere's a move to organize the parking and valet attendants at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines with support from the city's mayor.

    Bill Zars/bzars@dailyherald.comThere's a move to organize the parking and valet attendants at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines with support from the city's mayor.


A movement to organize workers at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines is gaining support from the town's Mayor Marty Moylan, himself a former union representative.

Moylan, who retired earlier this year from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 134, said he was asked by the casino's parking and valet attendants to support their efforts to unionize under the Teamsters Local 727.

Park Ridge-based Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 6,400 members across various industries, including pharmacists, zookeepers, funeral directors and parking industry workers, according to its website.

Moylan recently sent a letter of endorsement to the Rivers Casino workers.

"I encourage you to cast your vote for the Teamsters and I hope you will take advantage of everything that the union membership has to offer," he wrote. "I also sincerely hope the company and your managers will treat you with dignity and respect throughout this process and let you decide for yourselves without pressure, coercion or deception."

A union spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

A Rivers Casino spokeswoman said company officials declined to comment on any unionizing activity.

Illinois Gaming Board spokesman Eugene O'Shea said three of the state's 10 riverboat licensees have unionized employees. Of those, only Hollywood Casino in Joliet is in the Chicago area. There, a union represents food and beverage workers, gift shop employees and cage cashiers.

At the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, three different unions -- Unite Here Local 74, Operating Engineers Local 520 and Chemical Workers Local 12 -- represent food and beverage workers, hotel, valet, porters, painters, carpenters, landscaping, laborers, electricians, and cage employees.

The Alton Belle Casino has four unions operating -- Sea Farers, International Union Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America, International Brotherhood of Workers, Sea Farers International -- representing food and beverage, housekeeping, cage, slots, and transportation employees, deck hands, security personnel, maintenance workers, and boat captains.

Moylan said it's the first time he has been asked to endorse a labor organization movement as mayor.

"I believe that the people have a right to organize," Moylan said. "I'm certain that Rivers Casino can afford to pay their employees a good living wage cause they are making a lot of money."

Rivers Casino is the state's most lucrative casino raking in roughly $319 million in adjusted gross receipts through September 2012.

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