Encore’s technical, maintenance workers vote to unionize

The IBEW Local 103 union on Thursday said it has signed on 127 technical and maintenance workers at the Encore Boston Harbor casino, and will begin negotiating with management for a labor contract.

The employees include technicians working on slot machines and audiovisual equipment, electricians, and dispatchers at the massive facility’s fire control center. The union, which is part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said the workers voted to join during an August election in which 95 percent were in favor of unionizing.

Lou Antonellis, business manager and financial secretary for the Dorchester-based IBEW Local 103, said in an interview that it is important to develop a union presence at Encore.

The casino industry has created thousands of new jobs as it has gotten up and running in Massachusetts in recent years, though payrolls have been cut because of the pandemic, which forced the state’s gaming facilities to close for months. Encore and the other two casinos in Massachusetts are still operating at reduced capacity under state public health rules.

“We think the casino is going to expand here in Everett. We think they’re going to be here for the next 100 years in Boston,” Antonellis said. “This earliest stage really sets the table for that area, and their expansion and future … and we’re just glad to be in on the first steps.”

But the negotiations with Encore management could take some time to come to fruition. The announcement comes as another union, UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents hospitality workers, has been in lengthy talks with Encore about a contract for its members who work at the casino.

Andy Rosen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.

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