Moore: Twin River’s Labor Strife Highlights Obamacare’s Weakness
Monday, June 12, 2017
I didn’t think so either. But let’s think about this for a minute or two.
Isn’t is disingenuous that both sides of the political spectrum are whipped up into a frenzy over a debate to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment over his 8-year tenure, when in reality he did nothing to make healthcare more affordable?
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island is requesting rate increases for large employers and other insurance customers. Part of their reasoning for the rate hike is due to, you may have guessed it, costs associated with Obamacare.
Meanwhile, the roughly 300 Twin River Casino food and beverage workers, who are members of UNITE HERE Local 26, saw their required health care contributions and out-of-pocket maximums (deductibles) unilaterally doubled at the beginning of this year. The food and beverage workers were being forced to pay $230 per week for a family plan for health care.
The union began negotiating with the workers to come to an agreement that provides some relief for the employees. The workers threatened a strike, and actually walked off work at 4 a.m. for about 5 minutes, in a largely symbolic show of strength.
“If I were to put me and my daughter on Twin River’s health care, it would cost us $1,200 a month—as much as rent or a mortgage,” said Alexis Maciel, a beverage server, as reported by GoLocal earlier last week.. “I’d have to move my family to afford Twin River’s health care.”
Yet progressives make it seem like Obamacare somehow solved America’s healthcare crisis. In reality, the bill did nothing to protect American workers like those food and beverage workers at Twin River. Almost every single year since the passage of the supposedly landmark legislation, premiums have gone up, usually double-digits.
It takes a really disingenuous person to argue that doing nothing would have been much different. None of this is to say that the Republicans have a better plan to improve health care in this country. Both sides are not being honest, and answer to lobbyists from the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry, whose clients are getting plenty rich from the status quo.
Speaking of getting rich, Twin River seems to be doing just fine. It’s hard to understand why the casino needed to slash health benefits for their workers at a time when the company was able to reward its shareholders with a $20 million stock buyback late last year.
The Rhode Island state legislature has been very accommodating of Twin River. The state has passed no less than 6 laws to try and help increase the company’s revenue. That’s fine, considering that the casino represents the state’s third largest source of income (excluding federal government aid).
Yet it would be nice if the company remained profitable without squeezing the life out of its workers.
That’s a lot to ask. I get it.
Related Slideshow: How Do Twin River Casino and Plainridge Park Casino Match Up?
With Plainridge Park Casino opening in Plainville, MA, GoLocal looked into how the new facility will measure up against Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI.
1.) Payout Percentage: How much of each dollar spent is won back by a customer.
Number of Hotel Rooms
Twin River: None
Plaindridge Park: None
Neither Twin River or Plainridge Park currently offer hotel accomodations for their customers. Instead, they suggest to search for nearby options.
However, plans to build a hotel at Twin River were approved in March of 2015 by the RI House of Representatives. A date for when construction would be finalized has not been announced.
Twin River: 2007
Plaindridge Park: 2015
Twin River's grounds were first established when Lincoln Downs was built in 1947. It officially became known as Twin River Casino in March of 2007.
The casino at Plainridge Park has just been finalized, but the facility first opened in 1999 as a racetrack.
Twin River: Twin River Event Center
Plaindridge Park: Revolution 1776 Lounge
Twin River's 29,000 square foot venue will play host to Whitesnake on July 24 and Boz Scaggs on August 1.
The Revolution 1776 Lounge will welcome Thirty 6 Red on June 25, Bon Jersey on June 27, and Shattered on June 28.
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