Virginia’s Richmond Grand Resort & Casino Finalizes Labor Deal

Written By J.R. Duren on September 27, 2023
Developer Shakes Hands With Construction Workers with Richmond Grand Resort & Casino and Richmond Area Building a Construction Trades Council logos

Richmond Grand Resort & Casino is trying to reverse the curse.

The proposed casino announced this week it reached a labor deal with the Richmond Area Building a Construction Trades Council (RBCTC). The agreement aims to provide fair wages and benefits and a boost to the local job market.

Additionally, it signals to Richmond voters, who rejected a new casino in a 2021 referendum vote, that the casino is willing to put in the work to win voters over.

Tierra Ward, who runs the Richmond Wins, Vote Yes referendum campaign, said in a statement shared with PlayUSA via email that the labor deal gives Richmond residents what they want, labor-wise, from the proposed casino.

“Richmonders told us they want Richmond Grand to create great career opportunities, and now a project labor agreement has been reached that will ensure fair wages and benefits, promote local hiring, protect small, women, and minority contractors, and create apprenticeship opportunities so that Richmonders of all experience levels can begin a lucrative career in the building trades.

We are committed to ensuring that Richmond Grand creates good-paying careers from the day we break ground to the day Richmond Grand opens its doors and beyond.”

Developers are hoping moves like the labor deal will sway Richmond voters just enough to overcome the roughly 1,500-vote deficit that sunk the 2021 Richmond casino referendum.

Labor deal part of proposed Virginia casino’s push for transparency

The labor deal, also known as a project labor agreement (PLA), sets specific standards for:

  • Apprenticeship opportunities in disadvantaged neighborhoods
  • The hiring of small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses
  • Safety standards

Richmond-based Hourigan Construction Corp. will act as the project’s general contractor. And plans will also involve at least one union in the labor deal.

From a Richmonder’s perspective, the labor deal is a move toward transparency that wasn’t evident the first time developers pitched a casino to the city.

There was no PLA in place when the first referendum took place, leaving Richmond voters to guess at what pay would be like and what, if any, guarantees there would be about local hiring.

Additionally, the casino’s developers, Urban ONE and Churchill Downs International, are holding community meetings with Richmond residents to answer questions and improve transparency.

$26M in future casino revenue approved for city programs

On Monday, the Richmond City Council voted to approve a resolution that would direct $26 million in Richmond Grand’s revenue to various programs around the city.

Here’s how the city will distribute the money if the voters approve the Virginia casino, according to the Richmond City Council’s meeting minutes:

  • $4.5 million to create and fund the Child Care and Education Trust Fund (CCETF)
  • $14 million for the construction of early childhood care facilities at two community centers
  • $8 million for parks and rec projects

Of note is the creation of the CCETF, which will help fight the city’s childcare crisis. According to quotes by Mayor Levar Stoney‘s office to WTVR, the money will help to:

  • Reduce childcare costs for Richmond families
  • Boost pay for childcare workers
  • Help with hiring
Office of Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney Comments On CCETF
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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