- Lawmakers are not ready to move forward with the legislation.
- Unionized employees of gambling facilities are rallying against the effort.
- Seneca Nation calls Assembly members actions ‘despicable’.
It was a hot news weekend in New York State as the Assembly and unionized casino workers showed protest against a plan by the Seneca Nation to create a casino in Rochester. The State Assembly did not advance a vote on a measure to allow tribal negotiations with the state for a new compact.
News broke just a few days ago that the tribe was trying to negotiate a new casino in Rochester.
The negotiations seem to have taken place in secret and not enough information was provided to the Assembly about these meetings for members to feel comfortable moving forward.
Too Many Secrets
The plan to bring a casino to Rochester with negotiations taking place in secret was enough for Assembly members to avoid the measure and it brought out unionized employees in full protest. Over the weekend, members of the Assembly spoke out about how they do not feel comfortable with the idea as it could lead to the loss of union jobs and revenues in the state which Henry Wojtaszek pointed out last week.
I believe the Seneca Nation deserves a fair deal. However the sentiment of the Assembly’s Monroe County delegation — coupled with the potential loss of union jobs — is concerning, and we cannot move forward with a vote on the compact at this time.
— Carl E. Heastie (@CarlHeastie) June 16, 2023
Gaming facility workers held a rally in Rochester to show their displeasure in the secretive negotiations. The Seneca Nation and lawmakers were in discussions since a new compact agreement must be made. The current compact was signed in 2002 and will expire in December.
Lawmakers not involved in discussions say that they feel the interests of Rochester are not at play in the negotiations and the residents of the city should have their voices heard on the matter.
Don’t Blame Us
The Seneca Nation has issued a statement after the Assembly did not vote on the compact measure. Rickey Armstrong Sr., the Seneca Nation President, said that the blame of keeping officials in Rochester out of the loop lies with the Executive. He stated that the failure of the governor to communicate with the local officials shows the disregard he had for the overall process of negotiations.
Armstrong called the Executive Chamber’s non-committal approach to the negotiations and the Assembly’s decision to consider special interests over the benefits of a new agreement are despicable. The Seneca Nation feel the deal is fair for everyone and the Governor’s office spend almost a full year negotiating the terms of the agreement.
The Nation met with Rochester leaders after they learned that everyone had been left in the dark to express concerns. This did not seem to be enough to reassure the local leaders that the project would be a good idea.