Atlantic City’s Local 54 Comes to a Deal with 3 of 5 Casinos in Labor Negotiations
Atlantic City’s casino workers union has reached a deal with 3 of the 5 casinos with which they had been involved in negotiations. If a deal had not been reached by July 4, the Local 54 of the Unite-HERE would have gone on strike. That would have involved 6,500 of the union’s Atlantic City membership of nearly 10,000.
The Local 54 came to a deal with the three Caesars Entertainment casinos: Caesar’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s, and Bally’s. About 4,000 Local 54 members work in Caesar’s, Harrah’s, and Bally’s. Terms of the deal have not been revealed yet.
Bob McDevitt on the Negotiations
Bob McDevitt, the union president, said of the negotiations, “We bargained through the night with Caesars, and our negotiating committee has recommended that the membership ratify the tentative agreement. We are glad that Caesars Entertainment recognized the importance of fair wages and benefits to the workers in Atlantic City. I hope that Tropicana and Taj Mahal get the message.”
Carl Icahn’s Role Moving Forward
Tropicana and the Trump Taj Mahal are the two other casinos involved in the labor negotiations. Both casinos are owned by Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is owned by New York activist investor, Carl Icahn.
Carl Icahn turned around Tropicana from a bankruptcy in 2010 to a profitable business in 2015. Icahn took control of Trump Taj Mahal from bankruptcy in 2015, and many believe he will turn the Taj around, too. Carl Icahn has had a contentious relationship with the Local 54 since the time he won a court case which took away the workers’ health and pension benefits.
Kevin Ortzman on the Deal
Kevin Ortzman, the president of Caesar’s Atlantic City and Bally’s AC, spoke of the importance of the deal.
Ortzman said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Local 54 that keeps our employees at work and allows them to continue to deliver the outstanding service and experience that our guests have come to expect. Caesars Entertainment is proud of the investments it has made to contribute to Atlantic City’s revitalization and will continue to help drive the city’s revival.”
Bob McDevitt says that the casinos are starting to show a profit after an economic downturn. In 2014, four of the city’s twelves casinos closed their doors. With only 8 casinos in operation in the city, all of the businesses are starting to show a profit. Thus, the casino workers want to see some of the prosperity that the casinos are enjoying.
Casino Workers’s Wages
Over the past 12 years, casino workers’ wages have only increased by $0.80. To maintain their health and pension benefits, the workers agreed to forego wages. That is one of the reasons that the Local 54 members were so outraged when Carl Icahn convinced a judge to take away their benefits, because it negated 12 years of negotiations.
With negotiations still ongoing, Atlantic City is preparing for a strike. Additional police are going to be on-duty near the casinos, where the picketers will be. The unions have trained strike captains to keep the protesters in line. The picket line have been mapped out and rehearsed.
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