Twin River Management, Union Lodge Dueling Labor Complaints Related to Crimes at Rhode Island Venue

Posted on: July 18, 2019, 05:58h. 

Last updated on: July 18, 2019, 05:58h.

Twin River casino management has filed a federal complaint alleging the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 334 — which represents workers at the Rhode Island venues — is using a strategy of harassment, as it pressures company officials.

Roger Williams law school Dean Michael Yelnosky stands with New Jersey Superior Court Judge Justine Niccollai, an alumnus of the Rhode Island school. Yelnosky suspects recent federal complaints show that relations between Twin River casinos and a union are strained. (Image: Twitter)

The new complaint was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It follows the union filing its own unfair labor practices (ULP) complaint with the national labor relations body.

“The NLRB will investigate … and if it finds sufficient evidence to support the charge, it will seek to resolve the case voluntarily,” Michael J. Yelnosky, dean of Rhode Island’s Roger Williams University School of Law, where he also teaches employment law, explained to If there is no resolution, the complaint will be addressed at a hearing.

It is a sign that the bargaining relationship [between the two sides] is not great at the moment,” Yelnosky added. “Filing the first ULP was a way for the union to ratchet up pressure on the employer, and filing the second was a way for the employer to push back.

“You might say these dueling ULPs are part of the bargaining process.  But it is a sign that there has been some sort of breakdown or there is some important disagreement.”

Yelnosky explained that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits unfair labor practices by either employers or unions. Both unions and employers can file unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB.

“More charges are filed against — than by — employers, but unfair labor practice charges against unions are not uncommon,” Yelnosky added. “Here, it appears the employer and the union are accusing the other of failing to bargain in good faith by — in the employer’s case — refusing to turn over certain information.”

In the union’s case there is a demand for information “from the employer that is not germane to bargaining,” Yelnosky said.

Earlier, the union asked for information about the number of crimes at the venue. It also requested details on the finances of the workers’ pension fund, according to The Providence Journal.

Union Wants Lists of Past Crimes

In March, the union requested a detailed list of assaults, break-ins, burglaries and other crimes over three years at the Lincoln venue. The union also presented demands to improve worker safety such as “bullet-resistant enclosures or shields″ where money is exchanged, the Journal reported.

Recently, the state’s General Assembly approved a bill to exempt Twin River venues from an existing law where check-cashing businesses must have “bulletproof glass and steel partitions at check cashing stations, transaction windows, counters and/or similar areas.”

The union’s attorney, Marc Gursky noted how there was a robbery recently in the venue parking lot. Beyond that, in recent years there have been assaults, use of weapons, vandalism, and theft in parking lots or on the casino floor, the union says.

Gursky told the Journal, “We need to keep workers and guests safe…. An unsafe casino won’t attract guests and that means less revenue for Rhode Island.”

In response, Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle told the newspaper, “Twin River takes the health, safety and security of its guests, employees and visitors very seriously, and has an excellent record in this regard. For the last three years, and probably longer, no SEIU bargaining unit employee has suffered a single documented injury due to criminal activity or a security breach at the facility.”

Besides bulletproof glass, the union announced on Monday it wants secure employee parking areas, a shuttle vehicle to employee parking, security escorts, related training, alarms, panic buttons, GPSs, radios, improved visibility in risky areas, and adequate staffing, the Journal reported.

The union represents cashiers, clerks, money room staff, sportsbook staff and various other venue workers.

Twin River Expands Nationally

Twin River owns the only two casinos in the Ocean State. A new regional competitive threat comes from Wynn Resorts’ recently opened Encore Boston Harbor.

Earlier this month, parent company Twin River Worldwide Holdings announced it will acquire two Eldorado Resorts casinos, the Isle of Capri Casino Kansas City, Mo., and the Lady Luck Vicksburg, Miss. Earlier this year, the company also completed a reverse takeover of Dover Downs racino in Delaware and has also agreed to purchase three Black Hawk, Colo. casinos from Affinity Gaming.

Twin River also owns the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Miss., which it purchased in 2014, as well as a horse track and three greyhound tracks in Colorado. Beyond the Lincoln casino, it also owns one in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

Neither the union nor Twin River management responded to requests from for additional information or comments.