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President Casino workers fight to keep jobs

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)
Dave Morton, Director of Organization, AFL-CIO Local 74, answers questions for the media Monday.

By Bill Raack/Rebecca Thiele, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, Mo – President Casino workers are still fighting for job transfers and benefits as the gaming facility on Laclede's Landing gets set to close next week.

The employees are complaining that Pinnacle has reneged on hiring them at the company's other two casinos in the area, Lumiere Place and River City. They also say Pinnacle is not offering the workers who will be out of jobs when the President closes severance packages.

Dave Morton is with Unite Here Local 74, which represents some of the President workers.

"This doesn't make any sense. This is not been what they've done in the past. What's so different from these workers? What makes them different from the people that they've taken care of in the past -- the loyal workers that stayed til the end, that have 15, 16 years of experience?" Morton asked the media at a press conference Monday.

Security officer Myron Minner has worked at the President Casino for sixteen years. He says long-time employees feel betrayed "We work really hard not only for our casino but for the casino up the street. And then to be disrespected like that it hurts me, it hurts my fellow employees. We don't know where to go from here," Minner said.

A statement from Pinnacle says the company has hired more than 180 President employees at either Lumiere Place or River City, including 20 in the last ten weeks. The company says 70 percent of the remaining President workers have not applied for a job at the other two casinos.

Meantime, a president casino employee, Vanessa Lavingon, has filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the EEOC. She claims that she and others at the casino have not been hired by Pinnacle at Lumiere or River City because they are too old. A Pinnacle spokesman could not comment on the EEOC complaint. A union representative said they would ask area congressmen to investigate the complaint.

Union members say they plan to meet with Pinnacle officials on Tuesday to discuss the issues, as well as the contract for union workers at Lumiere.


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