Contracts expired, union pickets Tropicana in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – Unable to sign new contracts with Atlantic City Casino, the city’s top casino staff …

Atlantic City, New Jersey (AP) – Unable to sign new contracts with Atlantic City Casino, the city’s main casino workers’ union will start picketing about one of them on Wednesday.

Local 54 Unite Here unions said on Tuesday night its members would line up a picket line on the waterfront in front of the Tropicana Casino.

Contracts with nine Atlantic City casinos were due to expire at 00:01 on Wednesday, and by noon Tuesday it was clear that no breakthrough in negotiations with the two largest casino companies: Caesars Entertainment, which owns Caesars, Harrah’s, would happen. and Tropicana, and MGM Resorts International, which owns the city’s leading real estate, Borgata.

“We look forward to our action on Wednesday night,” said union president Bob McDevitt. “We have a long way to go before we get a contract. We are still close to that path so I can give you some forecast. “

MGM declined to comment; Caesars representatives did not respond to a message asking for comment on Tuesday.

Union members must vote on whether to sanction the strike before a withdrawal can take place. McDevitt said such a vote has not yet been called.

The union went on strike in 2004 for 34 days and opposed the former Trump Taj Mahal casino in July 2016, which ended with the casino closing in October of that year. It has since reopened under another owner called Hard Rock.

The union has been negotiating for more than a month, demanding what it called a “significant” pay rise in the new deal, although it has not publicly stated what percentage it is seeking.

The goal is to keep up with workers in an economy where labor shortages increase wages in other areas, but inflation eats away at consumers ’purchasing power.

The emphasis on wage increases is a shift for the union, which for decades has given priority to comprehensive health insurance and pensions over large wage increases.

McDevitt said the casino industry is showing strength in the third year of the pandemic, fueled by strong results in the online gambling industry and the sports betting industry. Last year, according to the State Department of Gaming Protection, casinos won more than $ 4.2 billion in combined revenues from casinos, online and sports betting.

But casino executives have long said that online and sports betting revenue streams are not what they seem, because the casino retains only about 30% of that money and the rest goes to other providers.

They argue that the money received from personal players on their premises is a more accurate indicator of the health of the industry. Personal income last year was $ 2.5 billion, which is below the 2019 level before the pandemic hit.

Earlier this month, the union published a survey of 1,934 of its members, which found that 61% said they had difficulty paying rent or mortgages on time last year; 32% said they lacked money for food, 37% lacked for utilities and 27% for transportation.

On its Facebook page, the union posted reviews of workers who say they work harder but lag behind. Teresa Lopez, who works at Caesars, said: “We clean up more departures each shift with fewer housekeepers. I work six days a week with mandatory overtime.

“Enough,” she said. “We deserve better. Casinos make their money; now it’s our turn. “

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