Workers at four Atlantic City casinos have voted to go on strike if they don’t receive satisfactory labor contracts by July 1.
On Thursday, several thousand members of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union voted 96% in favor of a strike. The affected casinos are the Tropicana and all three Caesars Entertainment properties – Bally’s, Caesars and Harrah’s.
The union had previously voted to picket the Trump Taj Mahal, so it too will face a work stoppage as of July 1. The Borgata, Golden Nugget and Resorts have been given a pass for the moment due to progress being made in their negotiations with the union.
The roughly 6k unionized workers’ chief grievance is that they willingly surrendered perks and went without raises during AC’s long, painful decline as a prime gambling destination. Unite-HERE said workers with 25 years experience had enjoyed total raises of only 80¢ over the past dozen years.
Now, with four of AC’s 12 casinos having closed and all eight survivors posting operating profits in Q1 2016, the workers believe they should share in the recovery. But Local 54 boss Bod MDevitt characterized the current offers from the five casinos as “an insult,” noting that the last best offer from the Troipicana was the promise of a five-year wage freeze.
Tropicana Entertainment president Tony Rodio claimed that workers at the Trop and the Taj Mahal had “benefited from increased hours, increased gratuities and job security” while thousands of workers at the four closed casinos lost their jobs. Rdio also argued that the current owners had “not withdrawn one penny of investment … while continuing to risk millions in an uncertain market.”
The timing of the strike is intended to prey on the owners’ awareness that July 1 marks the start of the July 4th holiday long weekend, a prime period for AC’s casinos to store up some revenue fat for the long cold winter ahead.