Twin River Casino Workers Vote to Strike over Health Care

The Rhode Island casino slashed their benefits earlier this year.

Photo via AP

Food and beverage workers at Twin River Casino voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike Thursday night, after the casino cut their health insurance benefits earlier this year.

Cocktail servers, cooks, and other service employees represented by UNITE HERE Local 26 voted 327-5 to strike if a deal with the Lincoln, Rhode Island casino is not reached by 4 a.m. Friday. “Twin River created a crisis for our families and if they’re serious about fixing it, we’ll meet day and night to get this done,” said Julie Procaccini, a 10-year banquet captain, in a release.

“The workers of Twin River Casino bring $282 million into the State of Rhode Island Treasury, but Twin River Casino makes us pay more than we can afford if we want health care benefits for our children. As much as one-third of our income goes to the cost of family healthcare. We are available to meet with Twin River management night and day to come to an agreement that works for our families and our children,” Procaccini said.

A spokesperson for Twin River told NBC 10 that the casino is prepared for the strike, and that guests should not expect any shortages in food, beverage, or gaming services.

“That said, we also have placed ads in local publications for positions in our food and beverage departments,” the spokesperson said. “We have immediate openings, and offer highly competitive wages and benefits. Beyond this, we have no further comment on the strike action.”

In the event of a strike, it would be the first by UNITE HERE members in Rhode Island since 1980. Harvard dining hall workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 26 went on strike for three weeks in October—the university’s first strike in three decades—and successfully defeated changes to their health care plan, which the union said would increase out-of-pocket expenses.