Rivers Casino Says Most Union Charges to NLRB Have Been Withdrawn

Jul 3, 2013

A spokesman for the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh says 33 unfair labor claims made by union organizers have been withdrawn following a review by the National Labor Relations Board, and the casino hopes to resolve 17 remaining claims.

The NLRB on Tuesday said it had authorized — but not yet filed — a complaint alleging 17 unfair labor practices by the casino against workers and the Steel City Casino Workers Council Organizing Committee. That means the NLRB believes there is merit to the remaining allegations, which the board is trying to settle. If that doesn't happen, the NLRB can file the complaint.

Casino employees went public with their intention to unionize on April 11, and since then, they claim management has engaged in an intimidation campaign.

“Immediately the casino responded by flooding our employee break room with members of management in an attempt to sort of intimidate us and prevent us from talking about the union with our co-workers,” said Matt Lapka, a server at the casino’s sports bar.

Lapka said the casino held department meetings and told employees they were not allowed to talk about the union while on the clock.

The NLRB is still investigating newer complaints that four union committee members have wrongly been fired or indefinitely suspended.

Jack Horner, Rivers Casino spokesman, sent a statement about the labor claims via email:

“We are proud to provide our team members with good jobs and excellent working conditions. To date, 33 charges filed by the union have already been withdrawn following NLRB review. We are working in good faith with the NLRB to resolve the remaining charges.”

Lapka said the employees are continuing their efforts to unionize and are asking for a fair process.

“We want living wages," he said. "You know, when the casino went in four years ago, they made a promise to the city that they would provide good family-sustaining wages, and that’s just, they haven’t done that. We want better wages. We want job security. People are getting fired for what I would describe as trumped up charges.”

The NLRB will issue a formal complaint if settlement talks do not produce an agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.