New Jersey: “Labour disputes” expected at Atlantic City casinos

By Louis Thompsett

A union for casino workers in Atlantic City, Local 54, has warned people planning to use the city’s casinos of potential labour disputes. 

These disputes are expected to occur should casinos not agree to new employee contracts by 31 May this year. 

The dispute notice released by the union comes at the start of what is normally a busy period for casinos in Atlantic City. 

This period will be especially important this year, as the industry continues to stabilise after the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Local 54, a union arm of Unite Here, set up a website to inform Atlantic City residents of potential travel disruptions should walkouts and marches take place.  

The union claims its goal is to keep workers from falling behind in an economy where wider labour shortages are increasing salaries, and high inflation is reducing spending power.  

As such, “significant” wage increases have been called for, to help casino workers recover from financial hardship caused by the pandemic.  

Local 54 is currently in contract negotiations with nine casinos in Atlantic City, including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. 

The union’s new website will surely crank up the pressure on the city’s casinos, and likely run the risk of fracturing what have reportedly been cordial negotiations so far. 

President of the union, Bob McDevitt, said: “We’re not threatening anybody, but we’re very serious about leveraging whatever we need to leverage to get our members a good contract.” 

Given nine of Atlantic City’s casinos surpassed record levels of in-person gambling in April 2022, union members are particularly aggrieved that a pay rise has not already been issued to its members.

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