Talks continue as Atlantic City casino strike deadlines loom
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Union negotiators were meeting Wednesday with management of three Atlantic City casinos in an attempt to reach a new contract and avoid a threatened Friday strike.
Local 54 of the Unite Here union was in talks with representatives of Caesars Entertainment, which owns three of Atlantic City’s nine casinos: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana.
The union has set a deadline of 12:01 a.m. Friday to reach a new labor agreement with those casinos and with the Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International.
A second strike deadline is in place for early Sunday, against Hard Rock.
“There’s ample opportunity for us to get momentum in negotiations and follow that to an agreement,” said Bob McDevitt, the union’s president. “This is the time where it’s really up to the companies. They know what our objectives are.”
Two casinos, Bally’s and Ocean, have reached so-called “me-too” agreements with the union, committing themselves to adopting the terms of contracts eventually reached with the larger casinos.
Negotiations with Hard Rock on Tuesday night did not result in an agreement. Additional talks with Borgata are scheduled for Thursday morning.
The union on Tuesday began signing members up for reduced-rate payments from a strike fund it maintains for labor disputes. Wednesday afternoon, that effort is scheduled to continue at the Borgata.
The union has been seeking what it calls a “significant” pay raise for workers in a new contract to help them keep pace with rising costs for gasoline, food, rent and other expenses.
Many individual workers say they helped the casinos survive the coronavirus pandemic and deserve to be compensated for that.
The city’s last casino strike occurred in 2016, when a walkout against the Trump Taj Mahal led to its closure three months later. It has since reopened under new ownership as the Hard Rock.
The union has not yet negotiated with Resorts or the Golden Nugget. McDevitt said they are not in danger of being targeted by a work stoppage at this point, adding that once contracts are reached with larger casinos, the union will then approach Resorts and Golden Nugget.
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