IGT, governor contest depiction of proposed contract

PROVIDENCE – In response to continuing questions surrounding the proposed extension of International Game Technology PLC’s contract with the state to supply technology and services for Rhode Island’s two casinos and its lottery operations, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s office said that the new contract increases the number and hours of IGT employees or contractors from the existing contract.

The proposed contract, which would run from 2023 (when the current contract runs out) to 2043, would increase the required number of full-time equivalents employed by or contracted with IGT to 1,100 from 1,000, while increasing the number of hours worked per week to 40 from 30. IGT will continue to be required to offer health benefits to qualify workers toward its FTE count, according to the governor’s office.

IGT Global Solutions Corp. Chairman Robert K. Vincent told PBN that currently the company has 1,000 employees on its payroll, and meets its FTE requirements without contractors. The new proposal would include contractors. Vincent said that contractors currently bring the company’s employment in the state to over 1,100 workers.

“The currently methodology that the state uses to measure our employee count is based on payroll. … There are no contractors involved in that,” Vincent said, noting that the company is currently in the process of recruiting 23 employees.

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“Going forward, we think its fair that [the state] include[s] other people we cause to be employed and that are working here for us, whether it be an outsourcing company, or other contracts we have.”

Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc. President of Rhode Island Operations Marc Crisafulli disagrees, and told PBN that the plan change to include contractors as a part of the deal with the state was a “material change” that will “water down the value to the state.”

Crisafulli also questioned the minimum payment requirements to qualify as an FTE employee.

In the 2003-2023 master contract, the hourly pay requirement for an FTE employee was set at 150% of the minimum wage – meeting requirements defined by Jobs Development Act (42-64.5-2 (7)). In fact, the act’s definition of an FTE is specifically referenced in the 2003 contract. However, in 2009, the statute was updated to 250% of the hourly minimum wage. Having been signed in 2003, IGT’s contract kept the base at 150% of the minimum wage. The proposed contract would keep that 150% rate.

Vincent said the act does not apply to IGT, arguing that it applies to new jobs coming to the state and that the IGT jobs are already in place.

“The argument that the calculation for eligible employees under the Master Contact was changed by an amendment to the Jobs Development Act is inaccurate. I can only assume it’s offered as another distraction from the point that IGT has a solid, 17-year track record of placing high value jobs in Rhode Island,” Vincent said in a statement to PBN.

“Our contract is based on the minimum wage law,” Vincent said of the current contract. “That was always the understanding of both [IGT and the R.I. Lottery]. We agreed it would be 150%. We’re guaranteeing jobs for 20 years.”

“Both parties recognized that the minimum wage might change from time to time over the contract, and we accepted that, but the multiplier did not,” Vincent said. “So any change in the Jobs Development Act did not impact the minimum wage law.”

Minimum full-time-equivalent wage breakdown:

  • IGT’s current contract, in which an FTE must work a minimum of 30 hours per week and be paid 150% of the state minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, would produce a yearly salary of roughly $25,000 per year.
  • Under the proposed contract, in which an FTE for IGT must work 40 hours per week and would still be paid at 150% of the minimum wage, the projected minimum salary would be just under $33,000 per year.
  • Twin River contends that based on the 2009 update to the Jobs Development Act, which requires a worker defined as an FTE to work 30 hours per week, the salary must be 250% of the minimum wage. Thus, using today’s minimum wage of $10.50 per hour, the minimum annual salary would be $41,000.

“I think what we have negotiated for and what is fair is the 150% in the contract,” Vincent said. “If someone wants us to pay something different, we’ll look at it differently.”

Vincent also said that even though the proposed contract sets the floor for salary for FTEs at IGT, in reality the company’s median annual salary is $78,000 and its average annual salary is $100,000 per year.

Company spokesman Bill Fischer said that the company had more than 300 employees making more than $150,000 per year.

Block told PBN that the decision to continue the 150% hourly minimum wage requirement to qualify as an FTE into the proposed new contract was made in order to increase the staffing requirement by 100 workers and to increase the minimum weekly hours of an FTE to 40.

Vincent confirmed that the company asked to continue with the current 150% rate.

The governor’s office maintains that the deal is an improvement from the previous contract.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. You may reach him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.