RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – The Richmond Hotel and Casino Workers’ Union “UNITE HERE Local 25” issued a statement Tuesday night supporting an amendment to the Virginia Senate budget that would prevent another referendum in Richmond by November 2023.
The motivation to support the union came from concerns that Urban One, the company behind the project, would create low-paying jobs with low pay. In the past, the casino was a selling point will bring 1,500 new jobs to the city.
“Due to the rapid rise in the cost of living and recovery from the pandemic, casino workers in Virginia need good wages and benefits,” said Sam Epps, political director of UNITE HERE Local 25. “That’s why we strongly support further study by the state and local revenues influence us to ensure that any new casino creates fair economic development and high-quality jobs. ”
UNITE HERE Local 25 emphasizes that the workers in the industry are mostly immigrants, women and people of color. «[We are] workers have been disproportionately affected by income inequality and poor jobs, ”Epps said. “Workers need to understand how they will benefit from developing a new casino before it can move forward.”
Richmond City Council voted for the revival the Urban ONE casino project referendum in January 2022 following a failed proposal in 2021. And interest was expressed by the CEO of Churchill Downs in support of the project following a acquisition deal with future Urban One project partner, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment.
“While we are grateful to the city and the mayor of Richmond for their shared commitment to creating good jobs, we are concerned that Urban One may not share their goals,” Eps said. “We urge the House of Delegates to agree to amendments to the Senate budget for further study of new game developments. Whether this casino is built in Richmond or St. Petersburg, it should be built in a way that benefits the community and the Commonwealth, not just enriches the developer. ”