Menominee Tribe: Menominee Tribe, Local Unions Sign Work Agreement
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Brenna Kriviskey Sadler
Casino project at Dairyland Greyhound Track would create approximately 1,000 construction jobs in Kenosha area
KENOSHA – The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Southeast Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council today announced they have finalized a project labor agreement (PLA) for construction of the Tribe’s proposed entertainment complex and casino at Dairyland Greyhound Park. Tribal leaders and Kenosha labor representatives signed the agreement this morning at the Kenosha Union Club.
“It is important to us that our project be good for Kenosha, and the project labor agreement is an added benefit for the community and its fine workforce in the building trades,” said Joan Delabreau, chairwoman of the Menominee Tribe. “As we continue to make progress with our plans in Kenosha, we are honored to have Kenosha’s talented union workers on the job. Kenosha has a proud union history, and the unions know well the tremendous benefits – including thousands of good-paying jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in related economic impact – this project will bring to Kenosha. We are committed to a strong development team and a strong project, and look forward to working with the local unions.”
Under terms of the agreement, the Menominee will assure that all contractors on the project will either sign or have currently signed the applicable local collective bargaining agreement for the work they will perform. In return, the unions agree not to strike, engage in work slowdowns or cause other project disruptions.
“This entertainment complex can make a real and positive difference in Kenosha, and the building trades are proud to be associated with this project,” said Tom Reiherzer, a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 599 and president of the Building and Construction Trades Council. “Not only will the complex provide family-sustaining jobs for approximately 1,000 workers during construction, it will also directly and indirectly create up to 6,000 additional jobs in our community once the facility opens. These are good, steady jobs, with competitive wages and benefits. In a place like Kenosha County, where unemployment is already above the state average, the prospect of more jobs means a great deal.”
According to an initial economic analysis prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the proposed Menominee entertainment center and casino in Kenosha will have an annual economic impact of more than $500 million. When fully developed, the complex is expected to employ 2,700 to 3,000 full- and part-time employees and have an annual payroll, excluding benefits, of $70 million to $80 million.
Once open, the complex is expected to annually purchase an estimated $100 million to $110 million in goods and services, much of it from local businesses. These purchases, along with spending by the casino employees, are expected to support an additional 2,000 to 2,500 full and part-time jobs in Kenosha, the analysis shows. “A Menominee entertainment complex and casino at Dairyland will deliver a much-needed injection of jobs, economic development opportunities, and increased tourism for Kenosha. To see the value of a project like this to a community, one need only look south to the Illinois communities aggressively fighting for the privilege of hosting a casino,” said Ed Gray, a member of Electrical Workers Local 127 and secretary of the Council. “We have talked extensively with the Menominee Tribe in negotiating this agreement, and we feel very good about the team that is in place to see this project through. This is a group that cares about Kenosha and doing this project the right way. This agreement is solid evidence of that, and we look forward to being part of the team.”
The Menominee Tribe announced its plans for the Dairyland site in January. The proposal is subject to local, state and federal approval. “This is an important step in the Menominee Tribe’s plans to build a world-class entertainment center and gaming facility in Kenosha, and we are pleased to have this project labor agreement in place,” said local businessman Dennis Troha, the owner of Kenesah Gaming Development LLC, the project developer. “We have been making progress with our proposal, and it’s good to know this project will be built with a talented, well-trained, and reliable workforce .” The Southeastern Wisconsin Building and Trades Council comprises 18 unions headquartered in Kenosha and the surrounding area. Affiliated members represented under the PLA will be: Bricklayers Local 4, Carpenters Local 161, Electrical Workers Local 127, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council No. 4, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 19, Iron Workers Local 8, Laborers Local 237, Plasters and Cement Masons Local 599 Area 845, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 118, Sprinkler Fitters Local 183, Roofers and Waterproofers Local 65, Sheet Metal Workers Local 18 and Teamsters Local 43.
The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, which is based in Keshena in Menominee County in northern Wisconsin, has existed in what is now Wisconsin and upper Michigan for generations. The Tribe, one of Wisconsin’s poorest, has 8,100 enrolled members and operates numerous social service, educational and health programs for its members. The Tribe also operates the Menominee Casino-Bingo-Hotel, a small casino, on its reservation. The establishment of a Menominee casino in Kenosha was authorized by then-Gov. Tommy G. Thompson in amendments to the Tribe’s compact with the State of Wisconsin.