2010-08-13 / Top Stories

Labor: Get Moving On Aqueduct Racino

By Howard Schwach

Organized labor sees the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and that rainbow leads to Genting, the Malaysian casino giant that recently won the nod to operate a gambling video lottery terminal facility at Aqueduct Racetrack, and is now awaiting the final approval by state lawmakers.

The leadership of the 2.5 millionmember New York State AFL-CIO has announced its support for Genting New York and called on the State Legislature to swiftly approve the proposal in order to create much needed jobs and revenue for the State.

“New York has waited far too long for the economic promise of the Aqueduct Racino plan to be realized,” said Denis Hughes, president of the NYS-AFLCIO. “Genting New York’s proposal will create more than 2,000 jobs, pump tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and immediately deliver a muchneeded $380 million cash infusion to New York’s coffers – so let’s get to work. New Yorkers cannot afford to wait another day to get shovels in the ground at Aqueduct.” Hughes’ comments come on the heels of both the New York State Building and Construction Trades and the New York Hotel Trades Council speaking out in support of the project. Genting New York has agreed to hire union workers and pay all employees a prevailing wage. The project is expected to create 800 construction jobs, 1,300 permanent operations jobs and generate $1 million per day in state revenue over the next 30 years.

“Organized labor believes in this plan and the jobs it will create for our members who are struggling to find employment and put food on their tables,” Hughes added. “Every day we wait is a day wasted in our quest to create jobs and get New Yorkers back to work.”

Genting is a publicly-traded company with casino resorts in Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom and the Philippines.

It also is a major producer of palm oil and operates several overseas power plants. Americans might be more familiar with another of its assets, however, the Norwegian Cruise Lines, which utilizes the west side piers in Manhattan for many of its cruise ships.

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