Atlantic City casino workers union to hold vote on strike following contract expiration
June 14, 2022
A dispute arises between the workers union and casinos in Atlantic City. The union’s contract with the casinos has expired just two weeks ago and discussions have failed to result in an agreement to create a new contract. The major union in the city takes the matter into its own hands and plans to hold a vote this Wednesday, June 15, to decide whether a strike is necessary.
“We’ve been saying for some time now that casino workers need a real raise," said Bob McDevitt, the union president.
"We’re two weeks past our contract expiration, and we’ll continue to try to get there with the companies, but we’re taking a vote this week to put in the hands of the negotiating committee the power to call a strike, if necessary.”
The voting process will involve members of Local 54 of the Unite Here union and they will decide whether the union leaders may get the decision to start the strike against some or all nine casinos in the city.
If the majority of members agree to strike, there will not be an immediate follow-up of the real action. It is time for the negotiating committee to decide when the strike will happen or if it will happen at all. The committee comprised of workers from the nine casinos.
The union has yet to announce the date of the walkout but Independence day on July 4 is an obvious date. Casinos will be swarming with customers as it is one of the busiest times in the U.S. and it is a crucial business plan for casinos.
The union of Atlantic City held strikes before starting in 2004 which ran for 34 days. They also strike in 2016 against the Trump Taj Mahal casino resulting in its closing down in the same year. The casino came back operating under Hard Rock ever since.
The union actually strikes an agreement with the larger casino companies in the city including the Ocean Casino Resort and Bally's. The casinos already agreed to honor the terms of the contract. But no contracts are yet agreed upon.
The union comprises workers including housekeepers, laundry workers, cocktail servers, chefs, line cooks, bartenders, doormen, and other service jobs in the casino and hospitality industries.
The casinos, on the other hand, say the union asks for a significant wage raise in the new contract. The union says the casinos and their online partners generating a lot more profit today higher than their pre-pandemic level. The workers say they want a cut of the profit with a raise. The raise is hoped to help the financial needs of the workers as they are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly rising prices.
The casinos claim they do not keep all the profits to themselves. They had to pay third-party partners leaving them with only 30 percent of the profit sourced from online and sports betting. The casinos said in-person gambling from gamblers is a more crucial metric of success. Also to be noted that not all casinos profit more than before the pandemic hit.