“Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”–Union Workers Rally MGM Gaming Proposal

MGM crowd
Labor rallies MGM.

Roaring like a grappler who has one last fight in him, Bridgeport’s just-turned 82-year-old political and labor warrior State Senator Ed Gomes stepped on the podium of an East End events hall, not far from the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area where MGM Resorts proposes a $675 million waterfront casino destination projected to create 7,000 jobs. Addressing the crowd Gomes declared “Bridgeport has been on hard times and people take cracks at us … Do we needs jobs? Hell, yeah!” Gomes set the tone of a Tuesday night rally filled by roughly 200 affiliated members of the Fairfield County Building Trades–carpenters, electricians, operating engineers and others–urging state legislators to support a bill calling for an open, competitive process to select a casino operator in the state’s largest city.

Rosario MGM
State Rep. Chris Rosario holds rally shirt Tuesday night.

“We need transparency,” added Gomes, a reference to the state’s gaming monopoly that allows 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for granting exclusivity to the state’s two tribal nations operating Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. “I want those jobs to remain up there, but I want jobs for Bridgeport. We have the best opportunity here. We got the land. And we’re the biggest city in the state.” Gomes, who is retiring from public service at the end of this term, is backing his former aide Aaron Turner to replace him. Turner, who attended the rally, supports the MGM plan for Bridgeport.

Gomes MGM
Ed Gomes ramps up crowd.

One of the Bridgeport legislators leading the charge, State Rep. Chris Rosario whipped up the crowd.

“Do carpenters ever back down from a fight?”


“Do electricians ever back down from a fight?”


“Does Bridgeport back down from a fight?”


“This is a grassroots fight for jobs.”

Peter Carroll, president of the Fairfield County Building Trades, kicked off the rally addressing his diverse membership. “We want our jobs, in our city now!”

Jordan Mathis
Union member Jordan Mathis of Bridgeport addresses crowd.

“I am Bridgeport,” shouted Aidee Nieves, president of the City Council. “I want MGM here for Bridgeport. Jobs, jobs, jobs.”

“This has implications for the entire state,” added Mayor Joe Ganim. “We are on the right side of this. This project will impact many families … Support these legislators … leading the fight in Hartford.”

Carroll MGM
Union official Peter Carroll.

No one from MGM Resorts addressed the crowd, but MGM chief legal counsel Uri Clinton took in the rally, working the room of labor rank and file, as well as state and city officials. Clinton says Bridgeport is the finest location for a casino in Connecticut, given its proximity to Fairfield County and New York markets.

Gomes, Clinton
Ed Gomes chats with MGM official Uri Clinton following rally.

Supporters of the MGM proposal say it will infuse the city with thousands of jobs and millions in needed tax revenue. The company seeks no public subsidy.

Meanwhile, the battle wages on in Hartford where representatives of the tribal nations try to kill a bill that calls for an open, competitive process. Last year, lawmakers approved a third casino in East Windsor on non-tribal land to counter the $1 billion MGM Resorts casino under construction in Springfield, Massachusetts. The East Windsor location, however, is many years from happening given the legal ramifications of the state awarding the tribes a site on non-tribal land. In addition, the federal Department of the Interior has not approved the East Windsor location.

MGM Bridgeport
Rendering of MGM Bridgeport.

About 25 years ago the state approved a gaming compact that provides the tribes exclusive rights. Opponents of the gaming compact assert monopolies are not in the best interests of taxpayers. They argue an open, competitive process will maximize the most money and economic impact for the state. Open the process and see what comes back from all applicants.

On March 8 supporters plan to make their case to the General Assembly’s Public Safety Committee that is scheduled to host a public hearing on the gaming bill.



  1. SO long as what MGM says they will do for Bridgeport holds true I think this could be good for the city. We are not creating Atlantic City. MGM will be more than gambling, it will be a entertainment destination and the possibilities for the city could be amazing. Devil is in the details, but by all accounts, this looks promising.

  2. I agree with DC Faber. I was under the impression that your DTC slate was anti-casino. I am pleased to hear differently. Very pleased.

    Kudos to Ed Gomes for taking a strong leadership position. It is clear that the Bridgeport delegation is nearly 100 percent in support of this proposal. Chris Rosario and Eziquiel Santiago’s perseverance could in fact change the face of BRIDGEPORT FOREVER. The Arena and proposed Amphitheater as well as the Poli- Majestic rehab will all benefit from the life entering our city. The jobs created for the unions and non-unions will put food on the table for many families. Having all of the workers come from Bridgeport is just a ridiculous notion. The builders will patronize local eateries daily. Steele pointe will have another selling point. I-95 will daily be a selling tool showing momentum and excitement in the city. Bass Pro will survive. I have hopes and will remain optimistic. There must be an army of support to overturn the law in Connecticut. I BELIEVE OUR DELEGATION WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!

    On a side note: It is lunch time and I will be heading to Funchel Buffet for the third time this week. EXCELLENT !!!! That is after I stop in at City Hall to see the Black History month presentation. I already see John Marshall Lee sitting in the front row. It is nice that some of the bloggers support all things Bridgeport!!!

      1. I didn’t say that. I support, I will patronize My friends will happily enjoy the excitement of it and leve their money in Bridgeport. The taxpayers will benefit from it and schools will benefit from it and jobs, jobs jobs , jobs. Mybe you don’t need the job but others do. You can join the group that is anti casino- I respect your decision to to oppse it, but those that suffer from compulsive gambling will make their way to a casino. The spend hours giving numbers for lottery and the city does not need to be punished for others mental illness. It works for me. It works for most city residents and I am hoping it passes. I support our candidates and now the next elections become if you do not support it you will lose.

        1. This is all smoke and mirrors, Steve. I can appreciate your enthusiasm. Bridgeport is in dire need of job creation. But I can’t understand why you are buying into this charade. It’s an exercise in PR. MGM doesn’t want the Indins to build a casino in East Windsor because it would cyphon business away from the casino they are building in Springfield, Massachusetts. So they proposed building a casino in Bridgeport, sent Uri Clinton ino East Bridgport to get the natives stirred up and excited about the prospect of jobs.

          But it all means nothing. It’s ll a game. People are being conned, investing their hopes of well paying jobs and dreams of a better future. It will be for naught. MGM will not be building a casino in Bridgeport any time soon, if ever.

          Stop being so naive.

          1. Derek, you’re missing a key point. The tribal nations don’t want MGM to build a casino in Bridgeport, so they’ve unleashed their lobbyists and like-minded legislators to kill the proposed bill. I’m judging MGM by its solid track record. They want to build in Bridgeport. What’s wrong with an open, competitive process? MGM bids, tribal nations bid, anyone else has an opportunity to bid and see what comes back. If the tribes outbid MGM, so be it. Monopolies suck. And that’s what we have in Connecticut. By the way, the East Windsor casino won’t be built any time soon either, it will be tied up in litigation for years while MGM’s Springfield site comes on line soon. You don’t like gaming as an economic development initiative. That’s fine, but you propose no alternatives. So, what’s your alternative? I represented Donald Trump for four years and never once went to Atlantic City to stick a quarter in a slot machine. I’ve visited Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods dozens and dozens of times, and never once gambled. Gambling is not my cup of coffee. Why do I go? For the concerts and restaurants. What MGM proposes is far more than a slot box, it’s a diverse destination. So tell us what do you propose that’s better?

          2. Bridgeport Kid, do you honestly see any hope for this city? Will taxpayers ever get relief? Nobody is promising 50,000 a year jobs as chamber maids and Valet parking associates but those jobs are needed in the community as well as Waiters , dealers, accountants, Security,chefs, events planners, maintenance crews, electricians, marketing and sales reps etc. Positive energy goes a long way. You are what you thik about..

            Here is something to ponder. Even if it were legal to move forward with a casino. People like yourself are anti- casino. Picture this, History always repeats itself. Shelton Connecticut. Fairfield County . ^ minutes from Bridgeport, easy access off route 8. 675 million to be invested. No opposition because Shelton understands why their taxes are so much lower. So much space. No garbage in the streets, No murders, Imagine how happy you and the naysayers will be. You know , the ones that didn’t want anything on Steelepointe. Imagine just another investment, business, jobs creater taking a 5 minute hike up the road. Adding to Luretti’s already amazing economic development. That is Bridgeports sad reality. We have people fight for and against the wrong things. We are a welfare city in need of a life preserver. St. Mary’s will not remain as pristine for long with no hope of tax reduction. People will just give up. The good news is others will buy that 950,000 house for 100,000. The neighborhood will disintegrate , graffiti will be everywhere and crime will be rampant. No money for the schools or police. We will be the Sanctuarary city which will drain our schools and police power. Blackrock, Brooklawn and the North End will continue supporting 90 percent of the city and we will all drive 5 minutes up the Street to Shelton and enjoy the hundreds of Restaurants, Patronize all of the big box retailers and end up at the Gorgeous MGM Grand enjoying the excitement and entertainment. Maybe some New Yorkers will go to the Holiday Inn because all of the Shelton top rate hotels will be booked. Imagine that!

          3. Gentlemen,

            I see more than a little potential in Bridgeport. This town used to be an industrial jewel. When the labor costs cut into the profit margin the corporations folded up the tents and moved overseas. Now we are left with abandoned factory buildings staining the skyline like the graffitti that marks the buildings. This city is an ugly sight from I-95.

            A casino pounds like a wonderful idea. Just think about the bigger picture. How much of an education does in take to deal cards, spin a roulette wheel, park cars or turn down bed sheets? The public education system in Bridgeport sucks the big one. High dropout rate, gangs forming a permanent criminal class… Sure, the jobs will be welcome. MGM will pay better thn McDonald’s or Cumberland Farms. MGM has promised elephant dollars to the city but how much of that money is going to improve the quality of life for the parts of the city economy that depend on EBT, welfare benefits and street crime? Education is the way forward. Skilled trades are the way forward. Casino jobs are all fine nd good. MGM will pay better than fast food and convenience stores, well enough for people to buy houses in Stratford, Trumbull and other suburbs with lower taxes and better schools.

            Where will that leave Bridgeport? Taxes will not be lowered. City Hall will not be reposssessing abandoned industrial properties, will not be clawing back multiple-decade tax abatements. O & G pays a pittance on several hundred acres of prime real estate while homeowners in the North End and Black Rock are saddled with the largest part of Bridgport’s tax burden.

            Is Joseph P. Ganim interested in LOWERING property taxes? It is doubtful. The casino may generate enough of a revenue boost to make a tax cut possible but it is doubtful it will actually happen. Joe Ganim has spoken of not raising taxes, not lowering them. He has been conspicuously silent on the casino proposal and it’s long-term ramifications. At present he is all about raising campaign bucks and pursuing a futile effort to be the first convicted felon elected governor of the Constitution State. I’ve seen first hand what the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, have contributed to that town’s benefit: NOTHING. The casinos boomed hike the rest of the town sank further into poverty and despair.

            The school system and the BOE needs an overhaul. Too many self-interested parties looking for a payout. The environmental issues need to be addressed. The corruption is being addressed.

          4. Steven,

            Mark Lauretti is not mayor of Bridgeport, Joe Ganim is. Casinos make a lot of money. Money corrupts at a faster rate than power. If you recall Joe Ganim went to prison for greed, not fascism. The entrenched political machinery in Bridgeport will be looking for a payout. 

            The environment, the failed public education system. The abandoned industrial buildings under multiple-decade tax abatements will continue to stain the skyline. The urban decay, the crime, none of It will go away after a casino is built on the waterfront. You actually called me a scumbag for bringing up these socioeconomic issues. 

            Sure, MGM will pay handsomely for kitchen staff, bellman, porters, maids, security guards, valets, etc, better than fast food restaurants or convenience stores. The people earning that good money will enter the middle class, buy houses in the suburbs north and east of the city snd move away. Meanwhile the street crime will continue, the industrial pollution will still be here, the school system will still be a massive rupture. Tell me how a casino is going to fix all that.

            I’m a scumbag because I want socioeconomic justice for the people of the city of Bridgeport? Thanks a lot. 

  3. Was the excitement over the now closed casinos in Atlantic City the same as it is here? Considering the closing of five casinos there, why would the idea of a casinos in Bridgeport still be kicked around? There were some big names looking to build a casino here but as we all know it did not materialize. The excuses were many why it failed.

    The closure of five casinos in Atlantic City should be an indication why it will not work here. The area around Atlantic City did not beneifit by the slot revenue.

    Bridgeport needs the jobs and taxes but this is not the answer.

    1. BINGO,Stringfellow…I suppose last night’s rally was good for camaraderie,a way to “rally the troops”,have political types,and union heads get everyone excited.But the reality is while a casino may be a good band-aid for Bpt,(create jobs,develop the waterfront etc),but how long after the legislators open the market up and give the go ahead,do other cities like New Haven,Stamford etc get casinos?,resulting in an over saturation,not to mention New York and Mass building them.The reason the Indian casinos were successful is because they were the only game in town.I realize we are really desperate here in Bpt,but a casino would be a temporary band-aid.

  4. This is a long way off. MGM is generating excitement, getting everyone worked up into a lather, causing people to shit their pants in glee at the prospect of Bridgeport becoming another rundown city with a casino.

    1. I would not be surprised if MGM turned their back on Bpt once Hartford opens the market up.New Haven is going to promote the Long Wharf area for a casino,keep an eye on this…

  5. If not a casino then what? Manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back to Bridgeport like it was when I first came here in 1968. Almost anything you could think of was made in Bridgeport, but those days are gone because American’s wanted cheap tv’s, stoves and refrigerators and other products and that could be done outside of America.

    A low paying job is better than a NO paying job. Everyone wants better, but what is that better? I found that most of the people complaining about these jobs dont need these jobs.

    1. This is not going to happen, Donald. Wake up and smell the coffee. A game is being played between MGM, the Indians and the state of Connecticut. MGM is promising the sun, the moon and a few stars. No one is being asked to make a material investment, no. The folks on the East Side that listened to Uri Clinton invested their hopes and dreams of a better life. Soon as MGM is rebuffed by the state of Connecticut those same people will have their hopes nd dreams dashed.

      This is cruel.

  6. Derek, you know I’ve said on numerous that I doubt this will happen, but if it did I think that the people of Bridgeport can benefit mightily. Derek, you said, “The folks on the East Side that listened to Uri Clinton invested their hopes and dreams of a better life.

    First of all it’s my understanding this casino will be built on the old carpenter Tech site which is the East End and more importantly look at the pictures and see how many Black’s and Latinos you saw that was listening to this presentation because the East End is primarily Black and Latino. I can assure you that the East End wasn’t very well represented at this presentation.

  7. What happens to Bpt’s casino when Wynn builds one in say,Portchester or maybe in Rye by the water?..At this point,it will be very hard to draw folks from Mass,Wynn ready to open in Boston,MGM Springfield..The New York market has casinos popping up all the time…I just worry about over saturation at this point and Bpt left with a failing casino…

  8. People should not be given false hope with this project all some got was tee shirt. Years ago when the city was loosing factories no one seem to have a plan to replace the factories, you would think they would since the city was was losing millions in taxes.

    Taxing people who own property is not the answer to replace a lost factory. However that was done and this is why a lot of people left the city. The city’s biggest asset is the water but they can’t agree if Bridgeport Harbor is going to be dredged. No dredging no deep water port. This idea has been kicked around for decades yet no decision has been made. What are the long term plans for the Remington building and the other vacant properties and empty lots?

    The jai alai did well for a while but that left. The dog track did not last as long as jai alai. Both of these folded long before the casinos in Atlantic City failed some were not even built. What is the plan for the dog track property?

    The reputation of the corruption within the city hasn’t helped either. All this has added to the decline of the city and has kept the city down for a lot of years. No doubt there are people in need of a job the casino isn’t it. Let’s look at Two Roads, when they were close to opening they had their people who were going to work there lined up. They did not have a job fair open to all.

    As of now the bar, restaurant and marina being built across from Bass Pro it has not been announced what restaurant or bar it will be. As for the marina it’s the same story. Who is to say things are not being kept quiet and they have their employees have already been set?

    The part of the project that included the movie theater, hotel and Dave and Busters fell through. So what replaces that? The boat slips are only going to beneifit people with a boat. The marina is going to need people who have some experience with boats, training someone might not be an option.

    Only a few people know of the grand plan for the property where the banana boat used to dock and the property where Derecktor Shipyard once stood if there are any. Derecktor failed in their promise to hire people from Bridgeport. So far the new ferry building has not been started they will bring their workers from the old location. I do not know if the property where Carpenter Steel has been cleaned up. That alone will take time and a ton of money.

    The city has a ton of potential but it’s lost through high taxes, crime, mismanagement within city government and corruption. Not exactly the key ingredients to the rebuilding of a city. I hope I am wrong here but looking at reality and being pragmatic it’s hard to be an optimist.

    The jobs where you could walk in one day one and retire twenty plus years are long gone.

    The only people who can do that here are teachers, cops and firemen. There are very little options for people who have little education, skill and criminal history no matter how minor. This is the job pool the city has and yes they need the work. It took a lot of years just to get the four businesses that Steel Pointe has now, this alone is the writing on the wall.

    1. “It took a lot of years just to get the four businesses that Steel Pointe has now, this alone is the writing on the wall.” So, what’s your solution? You’d rather have vacant land than something there generating taxes and jobs? Share with us, rather than whining, your solution?

      1. It took twenty years for Steel Pointe to break ground. Bass Pro must have deep pockets. In Bridgeport there are many palms in need of greasing.

        A casino is not going to solve the city’s many problems. Property taxes will not go down. Abandoned industrial properties will not be rehabilitated. The environmental issues will not be addressed. The public education system will continue to produce high school graduates with no marketable job skills. Street gangs will continue to fester in subsidized housing projects.

        You tell me how a casino is going to solve all of the city’s problems noted above. Steven Auerbach gives the impression a casino will make the waterfront so pretty all the existing negatives can be ignored.

          1. No it’s not designed to solve all the problems. The city’s ills will be overlooked, swept under the rug because no one in City Hall has the stomach to deal with the unpleasant truth. Infrastructure is crumbling; the WPCA is foreclosing on homeowners with outstanding user fees, not upgrading a system that dumps millions of gallons of shit and piss into Long Island Sound; the school system sucks; the BOE is crippled by partisanship, petty bickering, obstructionism  and juvenile infighting; industrial pollution contaminates the air, soil and water. 

            Build the casino, sure, go ahead. MGM is talking about throwing money around, a lot of money. Given the politics of greed and avarice endemic to Bridgeport how much of that money will be spent improving the quality of life for the people of the city of Bridgeport? If the issues I’ve outlined are not addressed NOW, before shovels break ground for a gilded palace of sin, then WHEN? 

      2. Whinning?? Lennie we have the land mass for almost any company that wants to bring their manufacturing here, What we don’t have is a mayor that really doesn’t give a shit about Bridgeport and their is a chance he lives elsewhere. We need people to go out and meet with companies and make real proposition. There is a company building washing machines from a new factory they are building unfortunately I forget where.We have noone scouting for new factories and such . Ganim brings in an un tested firm that is going to spend $300 million to redo the theaters and build 3 high rise buildings. They wont start doing any thing until the end of 2018.I will bet my pension taht nothing get done. You see Lennie your past and present friend Joe Ganim is full of shit

  9. I beg to differ, MGM will have a failing casino not Bridgeport and I’m sure that MGM wouldn’t build here if they thought, felt or believed that it would fail. You guys keep comparing Bridgeport to Atlantic City with respect to casino’s, but Atlantic City still has seven casino’s that are doing well and Bridgeport will have but one. That’s sorta like apples and cars.

    Bridgeport has nothing to lose by an MGM casino and everything to gain should they follow through with their promise to make the hire of Bridgeport resident’s a priority.

    1. You’re right, AC still has seven casinos. The rest of the city looks like Dresden, Germany, in 1945 after the allies bombed it into submission.

  10. I have nothing against a casino in Bridgeport I will welcome anything that will create jobs, taxes and give people something good to say about Bridgeport.

    I wish I had the forethought to come up with something that would serve everybody and would be visited year round.

    I just do not know what that is.

  11. The casino is being marketed as a quick fix. It will not be. The unions are on board. They represent skilled tradesmen, most from out of town. they will build the casino. MGM will be gracious enough to provide an “application center” in Bridgeport, really a room with banquet tables and folding chairs for hopeful residents to complete applications. Big wow. The training center will be in New Haven, a train ride and a few bus stops away for those without an automobile. The train from Bridgeport to New Haven costs $7.50 round trip. Bus fare is $1.75 in Bridgeport, $2.50 in New Haven. Five days round trip on the New Haven line is $37.50; add another $40.00 for weekly bus fare. For the applicants that own cars there is fuel and oarking.

    That’s a lot of money to shell out before the paychecks start rolling in.

    1. I read a recent article in the Hartford Courant that applicants for table game staff at the Springfield casino have to pay out of their own pocket for the training sessions offered by MGM with no guarantee of a job afterwards.

  12. I have been going to Atlantic City since 1978, the infancy of the casinos, I challenge anyone to tell me the city is not more developed and more vibrant. The Bridgeport Kid says it is like Dresden outside of the Casino area, well I don’t know if he has ever been there but it is nothing like 1978. In 1978 you got off the expressway to rundown and blighted housing. Now you enter to a new Transportation Center, Convention Center, Hotel, Outlet Stores and Restaurants, all the blight gone….Then you drive a couple blocks to the Casinis at the Beach. Do they still have blight, yes, but the Casinos are not the reason why, there was blight before. It is without a doubt better than 1978. Atlantic City is on the Jersey Shore and not near a major City with I-95 like Bridgeport.

    1. Yeah John, your such a rah rah for development. MGM is promising to spend $675,000,000.00 building the casino/hotel complex on the East Side of BPT. Will they be just another corporate carpetbagger or will the CEO, a Brodgeport native son, be true to us? Uri Clinton made a sales pitch over there, made a few bold statements about community investment. We need it in writing. Pardon my cynicism but Joe Ganim should not be part of the process. He has a history of self enrichment at the oeople’s expense.

      By the way, low income neighborhoods are not “blight.” Real live people live in them. Downtown Atlantic City looks great now but there are still slums.

  13. You are clueless on 99% of the topics you comment on or should I say ramble on. For some reason you have a holier than thou attitude which is not warranted. I stand by my comments, I am fully aware that people live in blighted areas and news flash to you….the people living there also are aware that the areas are blighted and they want to live in better accommodations. Don’t make stupid comments that I’m oblivious to poverty, you now nothing about where I grew up, how I grew up. The point of my previous comment is that Atlantic City is better than it was in 1978 and it is not up to the Casinos to clean up the entire city. Just a little bit of advice, please don’t feel the need to comment on every post…..

    1. No, it is not up to the casinos. It is up to the municipal administration to improve the quality of life for all residents.

      One casino is not going to change the tax burden in Bridgeport. Homeowners in zbrooklawn, the North End and Black Rock will still be paying 90% of the tax burden.

  14. John, you’re absolutely correct that AC is better than it was 40, 30 or even 20 years ago. What the naysayers dont seem to understand is that the MGM casino is not a panacea for all the ills of Bridgeport, simply one venue that will help uplift some of the residents while adding something to the coffers of Bridgeport.

    Well over twenty large businesses that employed thousands of people, that added millions to the tax base has left the city over the last forty years and the uplift of the city can’t be dependent upon one company for it’s revitalization especially since the State of Connecticut is experiencing the same dynamic, companies leaving the area. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he’s not really the wizard.


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