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Richmond Evaluation Panel, Mayor Recommends Casino Proposal with Labor Agreement

Richmond, VA. (May 25, 2021) - Leading up to tonight’s public meeting on ONE Resort + Casino (ONE), the recommended casino proposal for the City of Richmond, a labor agreement between the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and casino developer Urban One has already earned significant public support.

More than 200 Richmond residents sent letters to members of the Evaluation Panel and councilmembers on why a labor agreement needed to be part of the casino development as well as why the fact that having a labor agreement made ONE the better proposal.

“Working construction in Richmond hasn’t been enough to support myself and my family,” said Richmond resident and LIUNA member Jay Lockwood. “A labor agreement gives Richmond residents like me an opportunity to work on the casino’s construction and guarantees that we will be working with union wages, benefits, and protections.”

The Evaluation Panel listed community benefits among the factors that were considered as part of its decision, and the type of labor agreement between LIUNA and Urban One is known as a community benefits agreement (CBA).

Earlier this month, Urban One agreed to a CBA with LIUNA on its $600-million casino that would go into effect if the proposal were to advance to the Evaluation Panel, City Council, and Richmond voters in November. The CBA secures over 62,000 work hours for Richmond residents.

The other remaining proposal, Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond, did not include a labor agreement. Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort was the first developer to include a labor agreement in its proposal, but it was eliminated from the running last month.

“I think it sends a pretty powerful message that the proposal with a labor agreement moved forward over the one that did not,” said Richmond resident and LIUNA member Kimberly Hines. “Creating a lot of jobs doesn’t mean much to Richmond residents if the jobs don’t pay a living wage or if we don’t have access to the jobs.”

This is not the first CBA for Richmond. In March 2021, LIUNA and DPR Construction, the general contractor on the $325 million Public Safety Building redevelopment project, reached an agreement that mandates 42,000 work hours for Richmond residents.

“Throughout the Commonwealth, labor agreements have benefitted workers, contractors, and taxpayers,” said Dennis L. Martire, LIUNA Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager. “Raising wages supports working families while contractors and taxpayers alike have benefitted from on-time, on-budget project completion as a result of hiring local workers with union training.”

Ten Richmond residents just completed a free, four-week construction training program provided by LIUNA at a local Richmond church where they learned the skills they would need to work on the casino project.

“Labor agreements are essential to Richmond’s recovery, both from the past year’s pandemic and the years of inequality,” said Martire. “I commend Mayor Stoney and the Evaluation Panel on its decision, and I hope for the sake of enriching Richmond communities that the City Council follows suit and supports a labor agreement on the casino and future development projects.”