The Rochester Regional Joint Board (RRJB) fought for and saved over 300 jobs at Vernon Downs Gaming and Racetrack this summer. This success was the result of efforts from Business Agent, Erin Young, and her ability to direct and mobilize RRJB members and her work with state legislators to pass a state bill.
Vernon Downs had been struggling to compete in a saturated casino market and faced a business shutdown. When Erin Young stepped in and looked at the books, she saw that the casino was losing hundreds of thousand dollars per month. The most obvious step was to ask for tax relief to put money back into capital awards. When state legislators were approached for help, many declined believing it to be an unpopular political move. “That’s when we had to think outside the box and get creative,” Young said.
“We kept our lines of communication open and we let everyone know the importance of keeping labor jobs in New York State. Even those lawmakers that don’t like the casino industry recognized that beyond the industry, it was about protecting the residents that rely on decent jobs with livable wages. This is what made the difference. The union made clear that it was about the workers,” Young said.
A more detailed story of this campaign will be published in the next issue of Reflections, the RRJB newsletter.