Casino Workers Picket on Pegoraro

In April 2017, Northwest Indiana Casino workers picketed outside Ameristar Casino with signs urging customers to boycott Ameristar and “Tell Mike Pegoraro to Boycott Ameristar Casino.”

Mr. Pegoraro has been a regular customer of Ameristar and has not yet pledged to honor the boycott. If you know Mr. Pegoraro, please ask him to honor the boycott until Ameristar Casino is able to settle a fair contract with its union employees.

Open letter to individuals looking to play in the Heartland Poker Tour at Ameristar, East Chicago:

The Heartland Poker Tour is a high profile event for Ameristar East Chicago. Before you consider playing in the tour, you should know that the servers, bar staff, and housekeepers at Ameristar Casino have called for a boycott of the casino because the casino has not settled a contract with them since 2013. Now Ameristar has cut off the affordable family health insurance plan these employees have had for years.

You have the opportunity to support the hard-working servers, bar staff and housekeepers at this casino. The people who make and serve your drinks, clean the casino, and serve your food while you are at Ameristar are fighting to provide stable lives for their families and keep family health insurance affordable for years to come, so they won’t have to rely on hand outs or public aid in the future.

If you will commit to boycotting Ameristar – not eating, drinking, playing, or spending any money at the casino – until the casino can settle a fair contract with its union employees, please sign the online petition.

A picket at Ameristar, East Chicago

Union distributes fliers about Bryan Chiappatti at local grocery stores

Image of flier distributed to customers of Chicagoland grocery stores which sell Chiappetti Meats

Bryan Chiappetti has been a regular customer at Ameristar Casino and has not yet committed to boycotting the casino. Recently, members of UNITE HERE passed out fliers to customers at Chicagoland grocery stores which sell Chiappetti Meats about the labor dispute at Ameristar and Mr. Chiappetti’s involvement.

Legal Update: Ameristar’s Appeal “Dismissed Without Prejudice”

UPDATE: Last year Ameristar appealed a trial court decision in which it lost against UNITE HERE Local 1. That appeal has now been “dismissed without prejudice.”


You may remember the lawsuit.  Ameristar filed the suit against Local 1 in connection with our communications with regular customers of Ameristar to let them know that Ameristar wanted to take away the affordable family health insurance plan that employees have had for years. The lawsuit, which was filed in Lake County Superior Court, was dismissed on August 13, 2015.


The trial court rejected Ameristar’s claims and affirmed the right of employees to provide the names of regular customers to Local 1, so that Local 1, together with Ameristar employees and other union members, may publicize the union boycott. Ameristar appealed the trial court’s decision.


The appeal that Ameristar filed was “dismissed without prejudice” on August 11, 2016. Ameristar employees continue to have the right to provide names of regular customers to Local 1.


order dismissing case


UNITE HERE Local 1 will continue to exercise our First Amendment rights to communicate with regular customers of Ameristar Casino until the union members at Ameristar have a fair contract.

More than A Dozen New Endorsements

UNITE HERE Local 1 and the workers at Ameristar Casino would like the thank the following local business for endorsing the boycott:

Alberto A Jimenez MD, East Chicago, IN



Ana’s Beauty Salon, Whiting, IN

Anna's Beauty Salon

Big Mama’s, Whiting, IN

Big Momma's
Clipper Tavern, Whiting, IN



Daily Care Salon, East Chicago, IN



Grillers, East Chicago, IN



Lubia Dresses and Events, Whiting, IN

Lubia Dresses
Michelle’s Dance Center, Whiting, IN



One North Star Commercial Cleaning Services, Niles, IL



Quality Printing, Oak Forest, IL

Quality Printing
REX Music, Whiting, IN



Russel Romano Salon, Whiting, IN

Russell Romano Salon
Skeeter’s Diner, Whiting, IN

Skeeter's Diner
Steak and Burrito’s, Highland, IL

Mike Zahabi Steak and burrito
Thomas R. O’Gara, Attorney, Skokie, IL

Thomas OGara
Whiting Supermarket, Whiting, IN

Whiting Supermarket
Witchy Wearables, Oak Forest, IL

Witchy Wearables

United Steelworkers Reject Ameristar Discount Offer

United Steelworkers Reject Ameristar Discount Offer

Steelworkers Stand with Casino Waitresses and Bartenders

East Chicago, IN – Today, the United Steelworkers REJECTED Ameristar Casino’s promotional discount in its sports bar for employees of U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal, and BP. The Steelworkers have long stood side by side with the women and men of Local 1, UNITE HERE who work as
bartenders, bussers, servers and cleaners at Ameristar.

The Steelworkers were there when Local 1 launched the boycott against Ameristar and will continue to encourage its members to STAY OUT of Ameristar until they sign a fair contract with the workers.

“Steelworkers know that you have to fight one day longer to secure what you need to support your family. That’s why we’re behind the Ameristar workers,” said USW District 7 Director Mike Milsap. “We won’t be lured in by a cheap discount so that the Company can continue to mistreat the workers. We will be distributing flyers in all our plants to let our membership know to continue to boycott the casino.”

UNITE HERE Local 1 members have walked picket lines at BP and rallied in front of ArcelorMittal headquarters to back up Steelworkers. “Local 1 members are proud to stand with Steelworkers and proud when they stand with us. The Ameristar workers will be happy to welcome them back to Ameristar AFTER we have achieved a fair contract,” said Dan Miller, Organizing Director of Local 1, UNITE HERE.

Jessica Fisch, a cocktail server and union leader for 16 years at Ameristar said, “We love Steelworkers! When we walked the picket lines at BP, we were inspired to fight harder. Knowing the United Steelworkers has our backs gives us hope that we can win. When my husband got diagnosed with cancer after the Company cut off the health insurance, the Steelworkers were there to support me and it means so much that they continue to boycott the

The Steelworkers will advise its members to patronize Blue Chip and Majestic Star, which have signed Collective Bargaining Agreements with their union members.

Pinnacle’s Response

Recently, UNITE HERE Local 1 members contacted several customers of Ameristar Casino to encourage them to support the boycott the workers at Ameristar have called. Pinnacle Entertainment posted this flier for their employees to see.


Employer Flier_Ameristar 03.17.16


Our members will continue the fight for a fair contract at Ameristar Casino by exercising our First Amendment rights.

SUCCESS!!! Fisch Fundraiser


Community members show support for two local Portage residents, Tim and Jessica Fisch.


Tim Fisch was diagnosed with cancer last October. He and his wife, Jessica Fisch, are long-time residents of Northwest Indiana and will struggle to pay medical bills.


Tim and Jessica currently have health insurance through Jessica’s employer, Ameristar Casino. Tim and Jessica had health insurance through UNITE HERE Local 1’s health insurance trust fund until Ameristar cut the affordable, family-supporting union health plan that union workers had enjoyed for years. Now, community members are pouring out to show support and raise funds to help defer the costs of Ameristar’s health plan that will begin in May.


In order for Jessica to have claims paid by the Pinnacle High Use Plan through the end of 2016 she will have to pay $3,839. The provider under the Pinnacle Health Plan initially denied coverage for Tim’s prescription for Erbitux, his chemo treatments for cancer. This resulted in a 12 day delay for getting much needed medication.


A fundraiser, planned by Jessica’s coworkers and other casino union members, at McBride Hall on January 27th had a bake sale, silent auction, music, wine and beer, and more. The event was able to raise $6,540.40 thanks to local businesses, community organizations, labor unions, local residents, friends, and family. All proceeds went to Tim and Jessica Fisch.


From Left to Right: Beverly Coto (Ameristar Casino employee), Natalie Mijares (former Ameristar Casino employee), Jessica Fisch, Tim Fisch , Pam Saunders (Blue Chip Casino employee)

“Me and my family just wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for everything last night! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” said Jessica.


Under the Union health plan, Jessica and Tim would have had access to the “Cancer Care” program and be assigned a cancer patient advocate who would provide emotional support, talk to providers and make sure questions are answered, and help understand what’s happening to make the best treatment decisions.


Cleaners, servers, and bartenders at Ameristar called for a boycott of the property, asking customers to gamble elsewhere until workers achieve a fair contract. The boycott immediately drew support from dozens of organizations including the United Steelworkers, representing 70,000 members and the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor, representing around 41,000 members, as well as East Chicago City Council members.


Thank you to our donors:

Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor
Strack and Van Till
Lake County Federation of Police #72
USW 1010
USW 1014
USW 1066
US Congressman Pete Visclosky
State Senator Karen Tallian
State Representative Charles Moseley
American Federation of Teachers 511
Ciao Bella
Gino’s Steakhouse
Nancy’s Cafe

Contract Victories – Maintain Healthcare Coverage

Management and union members at Hollywood Casino in Joliet, IL and Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, IN have agreed to union contracts that keep the union health insurance plan which Ameristar Casino refuses to provide.


November 24th, 2015, union members at Hollywood Casino voted on and successfully ratified a 4 year contract which will keep the union health insurance.


December 9th, 2015, union members at Blue Chip Casino voted on and successfully ratified a new contract which will keep the union health insurance plan, and will allow dozens of members, who were previously not receiving its benefits, to enroll in the union health insurance plan in 2017.


This shows that it is possible to ensure casino workers in the area have a union health insurance plan. Why won’t Ameristar provide a union health insurance plan for its union members?

Letters with Larry: Part 2

In 2008, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) suspended Dr. Larry Kinoshita DDS’s dental license for failure to file and/or pay his Illinois state income taxes. As of now, Dr. Kinoshita does not have a valid controlled substance license listed on the IDFPR website. Enclosed you will find a copy of a search conducted on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website regarding Dr. Kinoshita.


The following letter was sent to Dr. Kinoshita’s business associates informing them of Dr. Kinoshita’s history and asking them to keep this information in mind as consider whether to refer patients to him.


Kinoshita 9933 Lawler Letter


Print Lookup Details

Kinoshita Dental License Search

Print Lookup Details - controlled substance license

Kinoshita Controlled Substance License Search


Dr. Kinoshita has been a regular customer at Ameristar Casino and has failed to sign a written pledge to help the people who serve him regularly by boycotting Ameristar Casino