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Graton Resort & Casino in Sonoma County to bump up pay for all employees

Graton Resort & Casino announced today it will implement wage increases for a variety of workers across the entire operation, effective Monday, March 8.

The pay hikes at the Rohnert Park casino include a minimum 10% pay raise for salaried employees, and hourly wage increases both for tipped and non-tipped workers, according to a press release.

Tipped workers will earn $17.50 per hour, a $2.50 per hour minimum raise based on current wages. All other hourly workers will be paid $18.50 per hour, a $3.25 per hour minimum raise based on current wages, according to the casino’s announcement.

The tribal gaming facility also announced it will start a new quarterly discretionary bonus program.

“Families in Northern California struggle to get by on the minimum wage,” Greg Sarris, tribal chairman for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria said in a press release. The tribe owns and operates the casino. “Costs for food and shelter are inordinately high here.”

Sarris said the casino has always paid its employees above minimum wage and provides paid benefits that include 100%-paid employee health insurance.

“A wage increase seemed only fitting to help our team members after a difficult year,” he said.

The casino in June brought back all but 20 of its 2,000 employees after having furloughed 1,200 in mid-March during shelter-in-place, the Business Journal reported at the time. The 20 staffers chose not to return.

Graton Resort & Casino is a member of UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents 300,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada. The union’s members work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation and airport industries, according to D. Taylor, international president of UNITE HERE.

“Too many employers in the hospitality industry have left their workers behind during COVID-19, and the leadership of Graton Resort & Casino sends a powerful message that our recovery depends on good jobs and a just economy,” Taylor said in the release. “We're proud to work with Graton Resort & Casino to advance the standard of living for working families in Sonoma County."

Graton employee Kathy Winfield stated in the casino’s announcement that the raise will remove some of the financial pressure and help her family.

“Our business supports families with good jobs, advancement, benefits and pay,” Sarris stated. “The Graton Resort & Casino is proud to be a business that leads the marketplace and a place where people can grow their career and support their families.”

The $820 million, 340,000-square-foot Graton Resort & Casino opened its doors on Nov. 5, 2013. Three years later, on Nov. 15, 2016, the casino opened its six-story 200-room hotel, a $175 million project that added an additional 342,000 square feet to the property. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria owns and operates the facility.

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