Atlantic City casino sets ‘term limits’ on jobs

Atlantic City’s big, new casino development has announced plans to hire all positions that deal face-to-face with customers on a short-term basis. This category includes everyone from bellhops to dealers, who would all have to reapply for their jobs along with new applicants every four to six years.

Developer Revel Entertainment representatives say it’s to keep customer experience high. Opponents say it’s a move to keep Revel’s staffing costs low.

The situation becomes more volatile because the state of New Jersey subsidized construction with a quarter-billion-dollar tax incentive.

On the front lines

The CEO of Revel Entertainment, Kevin DeSanctis, told the Press of Atlantic City the policy essentially sets “term limits” for frontline jobs.

“We want to ensure that these high-profile professionals are always engaged with our guests,” according to a Revel statement.

“These aren’t jobs,” insists Bob McDevitt, president of UNITE HERE Local 54. His chapter represents about 15,000 workers in the Atlantic City casinos and he’s predictably irate about the move by Revel, which the union has had disputes with for several years.

“They want to treat front-line workers who serve food and drink and cook and deal–they want to treat them like professional athletes and pay them like a hot-dog vendors,” McDevitt said.

The union opposed the tax deal that jump-started the flagging Revel development, now slated to open in May.

McDevitt argued that the new casino would compete for business with existing casinos, already struggling in a down economy, perhaps putting some out of business altogether.

“All along they’ve said this is about jobs. This is about jobs. Well, it’s not about jobs,” he said.

In its statement, Revel promises “a range of new employment opportunities” in the South Inlet and Atlantic City.

“The resort will attract new visitors, new revenue and drive interest from other businesses willing to invest in the city. All this will benefit the community, including other businesses in the area.” it said. “We feel Revel will attract the most highly professional people who are inspired by a highly competitive work environment.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.