Atlantic City casino workers vote to allow strike ahead of 4th of July weekend

Atlantic City casino workers have voted to allow a strike ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend to protest stalled negotiations for a wage hike.

What happened: According combined media reportscontracts between the major hotel-casinos in New Jersey’s gambling mecca and Unite Here Local 54 The union expired on May 31.

According to the president of the union Bob McDevitt96% of its “several thousand” members voted to authorize a July 1 strike against three casinos — Caesar’s, Harrah’s and Tropicana — owned by Entertainment Caesars CZR and the Borgata, owned by MGM Resorts International MGMif a contractual agreement remains elusive.

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

“The industry better not take this lightly,” McDevitt said after the vote count was confirmed. “It’s not a (BS) thing.”

McDevitt said the union had reached so-called “me too” agreements with two other casinos – Bally’s and Ocean Casino Resort – stating that they would honor the terms of contracts with other casinos, avoiding the possibility of 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 cleaners.

In contract negotiations, the union is demanding wage increases that include a minimum wage of $18 an hour for its members. The current lowest wage is around $13 an hour, according to organizers.

The union released a report that found the average hourly wage at three of Caesars’ properties was about $15.81 for untipped workers and $8.80 for tipped workers. By comparison, Atlantic City‘s living wage for a single person with no children is $18.83 an hour.

After years of financial difficulties due to economic challenges and competition from other states and online gambling, Atlantic City has seen a rebound in business. Casinos reported revenue of $235 million in April, down from $208 million in April 2019 before the pandemic.

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