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Atlantic City: Union Workers Protest Unfruitful Results From Talks with Five Casinos

June 19, 2016

Plan to Strike on July 1

Atlantic City’s casinos face more drama in the coming weeks as several thousand workers have planned to go on strike. The workers, about six thousand in total, are members of the Local 54 chapter of the union Unite HERE. They decided on the strike with an overwhelming vote of 96 percent.

The date planned for the strike will be July 1. This could be very damaging to the affected casinos, because July 4 would be mere days away--the Independence Day celebrations are a peak period for casinos hoping to serve the holiday crowd.

Atlantic City casino workers have felt repeatedly shorted by their employers, and have been in negotiations for the past several months for the raises and benefits they believe they deserve. Workers plan to strike from four five separate casinos: the Trump Taj Mahal, which cut benefits and pensions over the past month, as well as the Tropicana, Baily’s, Caesars, and Harrah’s casinos (the latter three all owned by Caesars Entertainment).

The Borgata, Golden Nugget and Resorts aren’t targeted by the current strike. Talks with these casinos persist and Local 54 believes it is seeing good will.

While four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos have shut down, casino workers have accepted cuts to benefits and no raises in order to help their struggling employers survive--some very senior workers have experienced raises of less than a dollar over the past decade.

However, the remaining eight casinos in Atlantic City have shown profits and the workers now want their piece of the pie. Current offers from the casinos are “an insult,” according to Local 54 leader Bod McDevitt. One of the better offers--from Tropicana casino--was a wage freeze for half a decade.

Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana, said his casino’s workers, as well as those at the Trump Taj Mahal, “benefited from increased hours, increased gratuities and job security” during Atlantic City’s casino market slump. Thousands of workers at the casinos that had shut down had lost their jobs, after all. His casino’s workers should appreciate their jobs’ stability during hard times.

Rodio stated that the casinos had “not withdrawn one penny of investment.” He believes that casinos are “continuing to risk millions in an uncertain market.” The workers should be grateful for their stable jobs, in his view.


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