Seminole Tribe To Spend $100 Million To Up Pay Of Non-tipped Staff

Written By JR Duren on September 19, 2022
Hard Rock will spend $100 million to raise salaries of its non-tipped workers

How much is it to fight inflation? If you work at Hard Rock International, it’s $100 million. The company announced it will spend $100 million to raise the salaries of its non-tipped workers.

This decision comes as the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Hard Rock International, continues to fight for control of a possible Florida sports betting industry. A District Court judge shut down the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook after an initial launch last year, saying the operation violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. A final decision is expected early next year.

CNBC provided a video of the moment when a group of workers heard the news their pay was going up. A room full of employees in beige uniforms smiled, hugged each other and threw their hands in the air. Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen told CNBC the company’s goal was to set the standard for better pay.

“I looked at it [as]: Let’s be the leader, let’s be ahead of the curve in order to make people feel appreciated. We only ask one thing in return. Just be the best you can be to your coworkers and to our guests. And we’re betting that formula will work, and I personally believe it will.”

Headquartered in Florida, Hard Rock International operates two hotels in the state: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

Some workers could see extra $20,000-plus a year

Hard Rock International employs more than 40,000 worldwide and thousands in Florida. The company did not provide granular details about how it would distribute the $100 million.

What is known, though, is that some workers in Florida will receive pay increases of $8 to $11 an hour. In some cases, workers’ salaries will double overnight. Those who see their pay go up by $11 an hour will receive a raise exceeding the state’s minimum wage.

For a worker who puts in 40 hours of work a week, an $11 pay raise equals a raise of $22,880 over 52 weeks. Those who get an $8 raise will see a yearly bump of around $16,640.

The raise in pay is reportedly available to all employees, regardless of their tenure with the company. Allen told the Associated Press that the raise is part of the company’s strategy to find and retain the best talent.

“We looked at all the starting salaries of all our (front) line employees, certainly recognizing the economic conditions that have been going on. We just wanted to do something to really help out and show appreciation to our employees. We’re trying to find the highest quality employees, thanking them for their efforts and recognizing that with compensation.”

Move is part of a trend to increase pay in a tight labor market

The news of Hard Rock’s wage increase fits in the context of a movement to find and hire good employees amid a rough labor market.

Earlier this year, casino workers in Atlantic City negotiated significant salary increases with the city. Wages now start at $18. Housekeepers will eventually make at least $22 an hour.

Photo by Shutterstock
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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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