Owner Jeff Gural and a union that helps represent some workers at Tioga Downs signed a labor peace agreement, Friday afternoon. It basically ensures that future employees who would work at the nichols casino, perhaps in a table games area, hotel or new restaurant, would be allowed to join a union without interference. In turn, union employees wouldn't strike if there are differences as an expanded casino opens. Tioga Downs has also received a commitment from its general contractor that it will only use union labor on future expansion projects.
Labor agreements are required by New York State for businesses who are seeking a casino license.
Gary Bonadonna says, "I think it gives Tioga Downs definitely a step up. They're just on the forefront of recognizing that it's not good for workers, it's not good for the employer or community if there is some bitter labor disruption."
Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural says he wants to employ as many local people as possible. He says that he refuses to buy machines that would allow people to cash out their gaming tickets by themselves. That ensures more people will be employed in the cashiering area. Gural also says he didn't want to use pre-cast concrete for the parking garage that is currently being built next to the racino.
Jeff Gural says, "In this case there is no pre-cast concrete so everything is being poured in place, which means we're giving business to the local concrete supplier and the people here who have to make the forms that form the beams."
Tioga Downs is competing against Traditions at the Glen and another business venture between Rochester and Syracuse for the Southern Tier's casino license. Applications are due by the end of June. The winner is scheduled to be announced sometime this fall. If Tioga Downs gets the license it would expand to offer table games and build a hotel. Currently, it has electronic gaming machines and harness racing.
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