March 4, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Bethlehem, PA – Security guards at the Sands Bethlehem Casino here ratified a contract Feb. 22, making them the first workers in billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s casino empire to organize a union successfully.
The deal, approved 70-6 after a year of talks between the Sands Corporation and the Security Police Fire Professionals of America, will give the 146 workers an 8% raise and set up a seniority system and grievance process. Adelson has long resisted unions at his other casinos, spending a decade in court trying to stop protests by the Culinary Workers union, UNITE HERE Local 226, outside his Venetian Las Vegas casino, which is still nonunion. One key organizer was George Bonser, a retired steelworker and union official who’d taken a job as a security guard at the Sands Bethlehem. He told the U.K. Guardian that he hadn’t planned to get back into union work, but when coworkers said they wanted to go on strike, he told them that a badly organized walkout would just get them fired. “I’m thinking, ‘You gotta get a union!’” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, here we go.’” Read more