Atlantic City Casino Workers Vote To Authorize Strike Ahead Of July Fourth Holiday Weekend

Zinger Key Points
  • The casino workers' union is seeking an increase in minimum wage rates.
  • Atlantic City's casinos are generating revenues higher than the pre-pandemic years.

Casino workers in Atlantic City have voted to authorize a strike ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to protest stalled negotiations for increased wages.

What Happened: According to combined media reports, contracts between the New Jersey gambling mecca’s major casino-hotels and the Unite Here Local 54 union expired on May 31.

According to union president Bob McDevitt, 96% of his “several thousand” members voted to authorize a July 1 strike against three casinos — Caesar’s, Harrah’s and Tropicana — owned by Caesars Entertainment CZR and the Borgata, owned by MGM Resorts International MGM, if a contract agreement remains elusive.

The union members also voted to authorize a July 3 strike against the Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City if a contract is not secure by then.

“The industry better not take this lightly,” said McDevitt after the vote tally was confirmed. “This is a no (B.S.) thing.”

McDevitt stated the union secured so-called “me-too” agreements with two other casinos — Bally's and the Ocean Casino Resort — stating they would honor the terms of contracts reached with other casinos, thus avoiding the potential for a strike.

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Why It Happened: The union represents more than 10,000 casino service workers who are employed as bartenders, cocktail servers, cooks, doormen and housekeepers.

In the contract negotiations, the union is seeking pay increases that include an $18 per hour minimum wage for its members. The current lowest wage is roughly $13 hourly, according to organizers.

The union issued a report that the average hourly wage at three of Caesars’ properties was approximately $15.81 for non-tipped workers and $8.80 for tipped workers. In comparison, Atlantic City’s living wage for a single person with no children is $18.83 an hour.

After years of financial struggling from economic challenges and competition from other states and online gaming, Atlantic City has seen a rebound in activity. The casinos reported $235 million in revenue in April, compared with $208 million in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Photo: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay. 

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