Workers at five Atlantic City casinos cash in on new four-year deal

Members of Local 54 of the Unite Here casino workers union picket outside the Tropicana casino

Members of Local 54 of the Unite Here casino workers union picket outside the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City N.J. on June 1, 2022 after contracts expired. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

A four-year deal will give a number of casino workers what they’ve long wanted: a raise.

Nearly all of the workers at Atlantic City’s five biggest casinos voted Monday to ratify new agreements billed by their union as “historic.”

The “yes” vote tally was 99% among members of Unite Here Local 54, the union that has been negotiating a deal since the end of May. More than 6,000 workers at Borgata, Caesar’s, Hard Rock, Harrah’s, and Tropicana are covered by the agreement. An additional 3,000 workers at Bally’s and Ocean Casino Resort are covered through “me-too” agreements.

Raises for workers across all classifications include tipped and non-tipped workers and are retroactive to June 1. The deal also features agreements to fully fund family health care and pension plans, includes new language to protect jobs, and brings improvements to housekeeping workloads.

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Atlantic City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz said he was “gratified” that workers “got a contract they deserve.” He added that he was “fairly certain” a strike would not happen because the workers didn’t want one.

“They wanted a fair and just contract, which they deserve,” he said. “The casino operators knew that a strike would be disastrous.”

Workers at the five casinos authorized a strike in June for the Fourth of July weekend, as a wild card in negotiations. A strike was averted at the last minute as a tentative agreement was reached.

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“This is the best contract we’ve ever had,” union president Bob McDevitt told The Associated Press shortly after a deal was reached. “We got everything we wanted and everything we needed. The workers delivered a contract that they can be proud of for years to come.”

Two casinos — Resorts and Golden Nugget — are still at the table.

Workers at those casinos plan to hold a strike authorization vote on July 19 if the two sides do not come to an agreement. Resorts did not have a comment as negotiations resumed last week. Golden Nugget did not respond to inquiries.

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