By Rosalie Tirella
… has a vise-grip hold on the minds and souls of so many on the Worcester City Council: jobs, tax revenue, cool new downtown hotel built for the city for free, restaurants, luxury spa etc.
But I believe what really attracts a good, progressive Worcester city councilor like Joe O’Brien to this passel of goodies is … GOOD-PAYING JOBS FOR THE CITY’S UNSKILLED WORKERS. A paycheck with health benefits, a paycheck that is NOT A MCJOBS PAYCHECK. A paycheck out of poverty. A paycheck that will enable the working poor and working class to pay the bills and then some.
This is so important! So many of Wusta’s peeps struggle, so many are on Food Stamps, so many live tuff/mean lives. A generation ago, and I count many of my first-generation European immigrant relatives among that generation, these folks would have found good paying jobs in Worcester’s scores of factories – what must have felt like several in each of our blue collar neighborhoods. A hard but sure-fire way up the ladder to middle class life.
Now the factories no longer thrum with activity. Yet there are thousands of unskilled workers in the city who need jobs.
The casino package would bring jobs, opportunities, to Wusta’s ‘factory’ peeps. This, I believe, is why City Councilor Joe O’Brien has not taken a public stand against the slots parlor. Especially if workers are union workers. Union gaming job salaries hover around the 40 K plus benefits level. A solid factory job paycheck.
Question: If we say NO to slots, can we provide all the folks who did not have the good fortune to attend college with a good paying job? Can we get the good but untrained kid a job which allows him to own a car or start saving money for a down payment on a house or condo?
The global economy has been brutal for America’s unskilled workers. Maybe folks like Joe O’Brien, good progressive city councilors, feel gaming, if tightly controlled, will ultimately help city workers who for so long have been looking at $8 an hour paychecks.