Atlantic City Casinos Narrowly Avert Authorized Strike

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Casinos in Atlantic City came to the table and reached agreements with the main casino workers union in town to avoid strikes at Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Borgata casinos on Friday of Fourth of July Weekend and by Sunday at Hard Rock.

The Golden Nugget and Resorts were still without a contract Monday evening but union organizers expected them to come on board in the coming days.

Bally’s and the Ocean Casino Resort had earlier agreed to go along with the deals made between the larger operators and the union. Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana are owned by Caesar’s Entertainment, and Borgata is owned by MGM.

Earlier, Local 54 of UNITE HERE held a vote, and 96% of union members agreed to strike if one was called by the worker negotiating committee. Next, union members will vote to approve or reject the agreements hammered out between management and the committee.

Workers have been asked to make sacrifices and forego new benefits as casinos were seen to be struggling in recent years, especially during the Covid layoffs and shutdowns and the slow ramping up of return customers and new visitors. However, now that the gaming houses are pulling down even bigger profits than they did before the pandemic, the workers want a living wage.

Workers Were Struggling

In March and April, UNITE HERE surveyed nearly 2,000 casino workers in Atlantic City and learned that 61% of them said that they “struggled to pay their rent or mortgage on time at least once in the past year.”

When asked if they had ever lacked the money to cover any of the following expenses in the last year, 32% reported they lacked food money, 37% money for utilities, and 27% lacked funds for transportation.

According to a report contributed to by the Associated Press on Yahoo Finance, Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International said: “We are extremely pleased that we were once again able to reach a successful settlement with Unite Here Local 54 to increase wages and benefits for our deserving team members. We look forward to further expanding this excellent relationship at both the national and local levels as we expand our iconic brand.”

Can’t wait and hope that the companies will do the right thing…

Results of the contract negotiations were not made public immediately.

The union had projected that Caesars Entertainments’ three casinos could lose as much as $1m per day if workers had been forced to strike and that MGM’s Borgata could lose $1.6 million per day.

We can’t wait and hope that the companies will do the right thing,” said Nikki Schwendeman, a Borgata Food Server who’s been in the industry for 38 years.

They need to know that we’re serious about winning the raises we deserve. That’s why I joined thousands of other members and voted yes to authorize a strike today,” Schwendeman said after voting to empower the negotiating committee to call for a strike.

Source: Hard Rock deal ends casino strike threat in Atlantic City, Yahoo Finance/AP, July 3, 2022

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