NAACP: Rivers Casino needs to repair relationship with Pittsburgh's African-Americans

Progress on hiring, outreach at issue

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The Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP has joined the collection of black groups scrutinizing the Rivers Casino, saying management hasn't moved quickly enough to hire black employees or give staff diversity training.

While praising the North Side facility for sitting down with NAACP leaders in August, chapter President Constance Parker said she believes the casino has a long way to go in repairing its relationship with black patrons.

"Right now, they have the worst perception you could have, especially in the black community," she said. "People say, 'You can't get a job there. You don't move up there. So-and-so was fired there.' We have to work along with the casino so that perception gets cleaned up."

The chapter has met with the casino before on minority hiring, Ms. Parker said. While its numbers aren't terrible, she said, she hasn't seen much progress in promotions.

In a news release sent by the NAACP following the meeting, Rivers Casino general manager Craig Clark said he's looking forward to collaborating further with the chapter.

"We are proud of our diversity track records regarding employment, service providers and community outreach," he said in the release.

A Rivers spokesman noted that 20 percent of new hires in 2013 were black. In 2012, 12 percent of the casino's employees were black, sliding under the state average of 13 percent and below the 26 percent of Pittsburgh residents who are black.

The casino drew a rebuke this summer from Allegheny County Councilwoman Amanda Green Hawkins, D-Stanton Heights, after complaints from black groups.

According to Ms. Green Hawkins' letter, several black events have been curtailed or shut down early, a matter the casino disputes.

She met with casino representatives Aug. 29.

neigh_city - businessnews

Andrew McGill: First Published September 10, 2013 4:00 AM


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