Strike could be approved next week

Atlantic City workers ratify deals at five casinos; strike looms over Golden Nugget and Resorts

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Workers at five Atlantic City casinos have ratified new contracts giving them significant raises, and are now turning their attention to the two properties that have yet to settle, Local 54 of Unite Here union stated Tuesday. The Borgata reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Thursday, leaving only Resorts and Golden Nugget to reach a new deal.

Officials of the union said 99% of workers who voted in ratification elections Monday approved the new pacts, under which housekeeping employees will immediately see their hourly salary increased to $18, which will increase to $22 per hour at the end of the four-year contract. 

Union president Bob McDevitt stated that “it is hard to sell a housekeeping job at $16 an hour. It’s a lot easier to sell one at $20 or $22 an hour." 

Cook at Harrah’s and member of the worker negotiating committee Dave Dorfman expressed that casino workers have needed raises for a long time. And even though they have now gotten a solution to their immediate problem, workers now need to “make sure that Resorts and Golden Nugget workers don’t get left behind." 

The union will vote on July 19 on whether to authorize a strike at those two casinos if new deals are not reached by then. “We don’t want to be in the last weeks of summer and staring at Labor Day weekend without a new contract,” McDevitt said. 

The agreements contemplate raises, fully-funded family health care and pension benefits, as well as work opportunity increases, and new technology protections, the union said. 

The new contracts were settled shortly before early July strike deadlines with the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana and Hard Rock. Two other casinos, Bally’s and the Ocean Casino Resort, agreed to so-called “me-too” deals, committing themselves to adopt the terms of contracts reached by some of the larger properties in the city. 

The Local 54 of the Unite Here union, which represents 6,000 workers, saw its previous contract expire on June 1, without any new agreements in sight at the time. The last threat of a strike during the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Atlantic City was removed after Hard Rock casino reached a settlement. 

Should workers strike at Golden Nugget and MGM’s Resorts, the move could potentially involve about 1,000 workers.