Michael (r) and Lessie Cathcart (l), who work security at the Chips & Palace casino, are excited to be part of the Teamsters Union.  

Lessie and Michael Cathcart are two of the newest members of Teamsters 117. The married couple works security detail at the Chips & Palace casinos in Lakewood, where they patrol the facility grounds to ensure the environment is safe for patrons of the two adjacent card rooms.

The Cathcarts are part of a new group of nearly 500 members that joined Local 117 last December when Maverick Gaming purchased four Washington State casinos, Chips & Palace, Goldies Casino in Shoreline, and Riverside Casino right across from the Union Hall in Tukwila.

With the recent expansion, Maverick now operates 22 card rooms across the state, where most of the non-managerial employees - dealers, cooks, wait staff, bartenders, and security - are all Teamsters. That's more than 1800 members statewide with representation from four Teamsters Locals - 38, 117,  760 and 839. 

"I'm glad to be a part of the Union," says Michael, who has been on patrol at the Chips & Palace since 2014. "I've heard a lot of great stuff about the Teamsters. We just want to be respected and have our rights protected."

Lessie, who has worked at the two casinos since 2020, is grateful to be Teamsters as well. 

"I like it because if I'm not heard, I know the Union will be backing me up," Lessie says. 

That support, essential for all Maverick Teamsters, is especially relevant now as a coalition of the four Locals, with a bargaining team of 30 consisting of union representatives and rank-and-file members, heads into a new round of contract negotiations over a successor labor agreement with the company this month.

The Union bargaining committee for Teamsters, consisting of union members and staff, kicks off negotiations on March 9.

The Cathcarts are excited about negotiations and the prospects of a new Union contract. Both like their jobs but would like to see a little more money in their pockets. "I'd like to see a raise," Michael insists. "That and more respect for the security group.

These demands, along with affordable healthcare, retirement security, and other workplace protections, will be priorities for the Union at the bargaining table. 

"We are proud to represent some of the first unionized gaming workers in Washington State," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "With four additional card rooms and 500 new members, our Union at Maverick is stronger and more diverse than ever. We are looking forward to sitting face-to-face with this employer and negotiating a strong contract that secures family wages and benefits for all classifications."