A strike vote
could give Unite Here Local 54 bargaining committees more
firepower in negotiations over new contracts for the 6,000
cocktail servers, cooks, housekeepers and other hospitality
workers. Employees are now working under expired contracts.
"They need to offer these workers a fair contract. We gave up a
lot when times were bad, now that they are making money, they
need to give back to us," Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said
in a statement after the vote.
McDevitt said 96 percent of those who voted on Thursday cast
their ballots in support of the strike authorization.
Four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos closed in 2014 and remain
shuttered, in part because of gambling competition from
Unite Here said workers agreed to wage freezes during the
recession, and those with 25 years on the job have had only 80
cents in total raises over the past 12 years.
"I work full-time but I'm still struggling to make ends meet,"
Rodney Mills, a 42 year-old buffet drink server at Tropicana who
earns roughly $11 an hour despite working there for more than
two decades, said in a statement.
Atlantic City casino revenues increased 2.7 percent to $802.6
million in the first quarter of 2016, according to state data.
Last summer, workers at the Trump Taj Mahal, founded by Donald
Trump but now owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn's Icahn
Enterprises LP, also agreed to allow a strike if needed. But
they have yet to call a walkout, according to Local 54.
Thursday's strike vote pertains to the Tropicana casino and two
properties, Caesars Atlantic City and Bally's Atlantic City,
currently owned by bankrupt Caesars Entertainment Operating
Also included in the vote is another Caesars property, Harrah's
Atlantic City, controlled by a separate unit not in bankruptcy..
In an email after the vote, Caesars' spokesman Stephen Cohen
reiterated his comments from earlier on Thursday, saying: "Our
goal remains to negotiate a fair resolution to keep our
employees at work and to continue supporting Atlantic City's
revitalization, which has our full support."
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the union's appeal
of a lower court ruling allowing the Taj Mahal to break its
contract to secure a bankruptcy deal.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Curtis
Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter
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