Billionaire Sheldon Adelson's 29-year winning streak in keeping the world's largest casino empire free of union contracts was halted Wednesday by a bunch of security guards making $13 an hour in Bethlehem.
After nearly six years of battling one of the world's wealthiest men, security officers at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem ratified a three-year contract by a 70-6 vote that makes them the first union workers with a contact in a Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Operation that has more than 50,000 employees worldwide.
The 146-member Local 522, which in December was certified as an affiliate or the International Union, Security, Police and and Fire Professionals of America, approved a deal that gives security guards immediate raises of 8 percent, a seniority structure and a greater say in work rules at the casino in south Bethlehem, International Union President David Hickey said.
They're the only unionized workers among the 2,500 at Sands in Bethlehem, and the only union members in a parent company with casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore."These guys are making history today," said Hickey, who heads a union with 37,000 members in five countries, as he witnessed the vote at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Bethlehem.
"They've hung in there through some hard times to get here.
They have a right to be proud." Casinos have a reputation as places with a license to print money, but state Sen.
Pat Browne believes that at least a few in Pennsylvania may need a tax break.
Browne, R-Lehigh, is writing a bill that could save struggling casinos millions of dollars a year. Casinos have a reputation as places with a license to print money, but state Sen.
Browne, R-Lehigh, is writing a bill that could save struggling casinos millions of dollars a year. (Matt Assad)This is a win that's been a long time coming for George Bonser, a recently retired Sands guard and now union consultant who ignited the effort to unionize nearly six years ago.
"The first contract is always the hardest, but we're pretty happy with what we got," Bonser said.
"I knew it would take awhile, but I never thought it would take this long."It was a surprising win against a man Forbes magazine lists as the 14th wealthiest person in the country with a fortune worth $32 billion.