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Hallandale Beach Protesters to Block Federal Highway Traffic Tonight

Workers at the Mardi Gras Casino say management has been adopting illegal union-busting tactics with its workers, and now they're planning a king-hell spectacle to bring attention to it.

Event organizers say they have 500 "confirmed" participants for a rally tonight that will start at B.F. James Park on NW Ninth Street in Hallandale Beach and continue, in the road, down Pembroke Road and Federal Highway.

They'll stop at the entrance of the casino, where "a group of 30 workers, clergy, community leaders, and concerned citizens plan on taking arrest" by blocking the intersection of Federal Highway and Atlantic Shores Boulevard about 7:30 p.m.

The Mardi Gras drama started last year, when ex-workers say they were fired for attempting to organizing a union. The workers filed a complaint in January, and last week a federal workers' rights agency filed a formal complaint that will go court June 25 if it isn't resolved ahead of time. So the issue with the group calling itself the "Mardi Gras 10" is on its way to resolution -- but an organizer of tonight's event, Romane Petit, said it's about more than that.

"All over South Florida, workers have no rights. Workers are suffering from injustice," she said. "We need to send a message to all the other casinos."

Petit is a staffer with Unite Here Local 355, a union representing 5,400 workers at casinos, sports venues, airports, and hotels. She called the alleged Mardi Gras union-busting "one symptom of a disease."

Mardi Gras management has declined to comment to the media because of the ongoing case.

If you're interested in checking it out for yourself, they're meeting at the park at 101 NW Ninth St. between 6:20 and 7 p.m., then marching over to the casino. The "civil disobedience action" is scheduled for 7:30.

"This is bigger than Mardi Gras," Petit said. "That's why we are doing it. It's bigger."



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