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City approves position to hire 1,700 workers for Horseshoe Casino

Baltimore’s new casino, which has yet to officially break ground, will aim to hire city residents, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake pledged Wednesday after the city’s spending panel approved creation of a position whose task will be to hire at least 1,700 construction and gaming employees at the site.

Caesars has committed to use local union labor in the construction of the Horseshoe Casino on Russell Street, which is expected to open next year.

CBAC Gaming LLC, a group of investors licensed by the state to build the $400 million Horseshoe Casino with Caesars Entertainment Corp., will pay the city about $80,000 for a community recruitment coordinator to hire local casino workers. The position will be for 12 months and will be paid for through a grant administered by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.

“The agreement reflects a strong public-private partnership,” Rawlings-Blake said after a vote by the city’s Board of Estimates at its weekly meeting.

The subject of hiring local workers to build and staff the casino has been controversial. More than 400 protestors took to the streets around the Inner Harbor on April 20 at a Fair Development Rally, calling on Caesars to hire locally. The Fair Development group is made up of representatives from UNITE HERE, United Workers and the local grassroots organization Community Churches United.

Last month, Caesars indicated it would sign an agreement to use local union labor to build the 262,000-square-foot casino. The union deal evolved after an impasse in labor talks that resulted in a meeting between Caesars and Whiting Turner Contracting Co., representatives of national building trades, Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The casino is expected to open in mid-2014 on Russell Street near M&T Bank Stadium.