AP

Contracts expired, union to picket Atlantic City’s Tropicana

May 31, 2022, 1:09 PM | Updated: 2:09 pm

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Unable to reach new contracts with the Atlantic City casinos, the city’s main casino workers union will begin picketing outside one of them Wednesday.

Local 54 of the Unite Here union said Tuesday its members will form a picket line on the Boardwalk in front of the Tropicana casino Wednesday evening.

Contracts with the nine Atlantic City casinos were set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, and by midday Tuesday it was clear that no breakthrough was likely to happen in talks with two of the largest casino companies: Caesars Entertainment, which owns Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana, and MGM Resorts International, which owns the city’s leading property, the Borgata.

“We’re looking forward to our action Wednesday night,” said union president Bob McDevitt. “We have a long way to go before we get a contract. We’re not far enough down the road for me to give you any kind of a prediction yet.”

MGM declined comment; representatives of Caesars did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

The union’s members would have to vote on whether to authorize a strike before a walkout could occur. McDevitt said such a vote has not yet been scheduled.

The union went on strike in 2004 for 34 days, and walked out against the former Trump Taj Mahal casino in July 2016, which ended with the casino shutting down in October of that year. It has since reopened under different ownership as the Hard Rock.

The union has been negotiating for over a month, seeking what it termed “significant” pay raises in a new deal, though it has not publicly specified the percentage increase it is seeking.

The goal is to keep workers from falling behind in an economy where labor shortages are increasing salaries in other industries, yet inflation is eating away at consumers’ purchasing power.

The emphasis on higher wages represents a switch for the union, which over the decades has prioritized comprehensive health insurance and pensions over big pay raises.

McDevitt said the casino industry is showing strength in the third year of the pandemic, aided by strong performances in the internet gambling and sports betting industries. Last year, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, the casinos won over $4.2 billion in combined casino, online and sports betting revenue.

But casino executives have long said the online and sports betting revenue streams are not what they seem because the casinos only keep about 30% of that money, with the rest going to third-party providers.

They argue that money won from in-person gamblers on their premises is a truer indication of the health of the industry. Last year’s in-person revenue figure was $2.5 billion, which is below the level of 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Earlier this month the union released a survey of 1,934 of its members that showed 61% reported struggling to pay their rent or mortgage on time in the past year; 32% reported they lacked money for food, 37% lacked enough for for utilities, and 27% for transportation.

On its Facebook page, the union posted testimonials from workers who say they are working harder yet falling behind. Teresa Lopez, who works at Caesars, said, “We clean more check-outs each shift with less housekeepers. I’m working six days a week with mandatory overtime.

“Enough is enough,” she said. “We deserve better. The casinos are making their money; now it’s our turn.”

___

Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Global technology outage causes chaos on Friday morning...

Associated Press

Faulty software update causes havoc worldwide for airlines, hospitals and governments

A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air on Friday morning.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives during the second day of th...

Associated Press

Donald Trump celebrated by former rivals at Republican National Convention

Former president Donald Trump was celebrated at the Republican National Convention by former rivals, including Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

3 days ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths.

7 days ago

FILE - Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the "Ask Dr. Ruth" panel during the Hulu presentation at...

Associated Press

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, has died

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author, has died.

7 days ago

Biden proposes rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat...

Associated Press

Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat

President Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, warning — as tens of millions of people in the U.S. are under heat advisories — that high temperatures are the country's leading weather-related killer.

18 days ago

FILE - Rori Chang, of Glendale, Ariz., walks with her dog Ava as they leave the Maricopa Country An...

Associated Press

Here are ways that can help ease dogs’ July Fourth dread

Those with furry, four-legged family members will be searching for solutions to the Fourth of July anxiety that fireworks bring.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Contracts expired, union to picket Atlantic City’s Tropicana