NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you very much.
MS. BREWIN: Yes. Good evening, Madame Chairperson --
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Good evening.
MS. BREWIN: -- Commissioners, and fellow union members, ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Frances Brewin. I've been employed in the local area restaurants most of my adult life. Typically the wages were very meager and benefits were nonexistent. You had to depend on the generosity of patrons in the form of tips to eke out a living.
The advent of casinos opened up a whole new era for myself and many, many more like me. I went to work at the Golden Nugget in June of 1982 and have been employed there ever since, although it has changed hands several times, Valley's Grand and now Atlantic City's Hilton.
I still depend on tips, but receive a fair wage and terrific benefits, including paid vacation, something I never received in the private sector; pension fund; severance fund; and medical insurance, which is administered through collective bargaining through our union.
When I first went to work in the industry, little did I realize just how important the benefits would become to my family. In 1989 my husband became disabled due to an accident and was forced to take early retirement from a job that he had held for more than 34 years.
He was able to keep his benefits for five years, but when that time ran out, thank God, we still had mine. In the last few years, he required surgery and developed a medical problem that requires expensive prescription drugs, several hundred dollars a month, which only costs us $8 out of pocket.
Fortunately the benefits I have as a casino worker cover drugs and medical care with very modest out-of-pocket costs.
As natives of the area, we have certainly seen a lot of changes, but I'm sure without casinos the changes we would have seen would not have been for the better. Just take a ride around the area, not just Atlantic City itself. Go offshore, as we natives refer to the mainland communities. Huge shopping centers, new homes and new schools, all attest to the prosperity casinos have brought here.
As a matter of fact, our town of Northfield just opened a new $17 million community school which replaces four antiquated ones which were promptly sold and now become new tax rentables.
Mine is but one story out of thousands, but very important to myself and my family.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.