“I know everyone is disappointed that we didn’t have a very long picket line,” said Brian Lang, president of Unite Here! Local 26, representing the food and beverage workers at Twin River Casino. “But if we did, it would have been loud, it would have been proud and it would have been, ‘If we don’t get it!?'”
“Shut it down!” answered the crowd of jubilant workers.
Twin River Casino food and beverage workers walked out during the 4am shift change and began picketing as negotiations between management and the union stalled. The union had planned a two-day strike, but about six minutes later, the walk-out was over.
The news spread through the crowd and was met with disbelief and elation. “We won,” said a worker. “We won?” asked another worker. “We won,” replied a third.
Only a minute or so earlier bartender Valerie Costa had held her finger and thumb and inch apart for news cameras saying, “This far away. We’re this far away. [If management would] give that extra inch, all of this would go away.”
Negotiations had stalled over health care cuts that started in January. As reported here, workers were being forced to pay over $230 a week for a family healthcare plan. Co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions went up as well.
Union negotiator Julie Procaccini told the workers that negotiations had lasted nine plus hours and had ended only after the walkout commenced. Procaccini assured the workers that the contract was “going to be great.”
Unite Here! Local 26 President Brian Lang then told the crowd that details about the tentative contract would be revealed in meetings to be held over the weekend and a vote taken.
“Does this mean we have to work today?” asked a worker.
“This means that everyone will be working their regular schedule today,” said Lang, to cheers and laughter.