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Indiana Casino Workers Demand Higher Wages, Better Healthcare

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Workers from Indiana’s Caesars casinos rallied for higher wages and better health plans on Thursday in Shelbyville. Employees from the Indiana Grand Racing & Casino and Caesars Southern Indiana Casino came together ahead of contract negotiations.

At the Indiana Grand, workers told management their healthcare plan deductibles were too high. They say many workers are paid less than $15 an hour and struggle to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment Corporation is slated to merge with Eldorado Resorts to create what it calls the largest casino operation in the country.

Workers from Caesars casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana also attended to rally to show support.

Tanda Ems says she worked at Caesars Southern Indiana in Elizabeth for 17 years and makes less than $14 an hour. She says between the wages and insurance, she can’t afford inhalers her grandson needs for his asthma. 

“I have to look him in the face and say, I’m sorry, we can’t afford that,” she says. “I work for a multi-billion dollar company and I’m sorry, we can’t afford your medical needs.”

A spokesperson from Caesars says they look forward to negotiating workers’s contracts to a favorable conclusion, but can’t comment on specifics around pay or health insurance. 

Contact Justin at or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

Justin Hicks has joined the reporting team for Indiana Public Broadcasting News (IPB News) through funding made available by (IPBS) Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Justin will be based out of WVPE in his new role as a Workforce Development Reporter for IPB News. Justin comes to Indiana by way of New York. He has a Master's Degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He previously earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet. He first learned about Elkhart, Indiana, because of the stamp on his brass instrument indicating where it was produced.