Atlantic City Casino Workers in Strong Position for Pay Increase

Casino Workers to Vote on General Strike in Atlantic City

Despite the gambling industry in Atlantic City is in a fairly good place, a workers union will vote on Wednesday to call a strike against the city’s casinos, and some of the biggest employers, with whom they have failed to establish new contract agreements.

New Contract Agreements Become Apple of Discord

While city casinos are hungry for new workers, they have moved fairly slowly on ensuring that the current ones are happy. Local 54 of the Unite Here union will ask its members to back a strike against the nine established gambling properties in the city.

The urgency is necessitated by the fact that the existing contracts with the casinos have expired a little over two weeks ago, which means that job security, benefits, and other employment-related items are up in the air. The union wants to make sure that this is fixed and on a quick schedule, too. Bob McDevitt, the union president, had this to say about the union’s plans:

We’ve been saying for some time now that casino workers need a real raise. 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.

Local 54, Unite Here president Bob McDevitt

Should casino workers rally behind the union’s call, they may disrupt the July 4 holiday weekend, which is an important money-maker for casinos. Producing a tangible negotiation in the few weeks leading up to the date is not very likely, albeit casinos may come up with a way to assuage their employees.

Meanwhile, the union will insist that workers vote for a strike so that the organization has the formal go-ahead by its members to apply pressure to Atlantic City’s nine casino properties. The union is also looking for better contracts for its members, mostly motivated by the fact that Atlantic City casinos have been on a tear.

Casinos Have Qualms about Recovery

They are raking in bigger money from land-based and online operations despite fearing that a ban on smoking may undo this progress the casinos insist on (it’s unlikely to do so). However, a strike on July 4 is likely to pressure many casinos into listening to their workers’ demands as economic recovery for the sector will hinge on smooth operations for as long as possible.

Some skeptics fear that COVID-19 may return, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended to US President Joe Biden to lift a requirement for pre-flight COVID-19 testing when entering the United States for international travelers. The President complied.

Casinos though insist that the statistics used to argue in favor of their outstanding recovery are misleading as they only retain a third of the money that is generated through online and sports betting – most of the rest is distributed to third parties.