AC: Local 54 Votes to Authorize Strike Over Lack of Progress

The contract between Local 54 of Unite Here and Atlantic City casinos expired May 31. Negotiations are not moving the needle, so the union voted to authorize a strike. Whether they follow through or not depends on future talks.

AC: Local 54 Votes to Authorize Strike Over Lack of Progress

Whether Local 54 of Unite Here union goes on strike over the latest contract negotiations is still undetermined. The union voted on June 15 to authorize a strike. It will be in the arsenal of tactics if negotiations turn sour—the union can strike any or all nine casinos, according to the Associated Press.

“We’ve been saying for some time now that casino workers need a real raise,” union spokesperson Bethany Holmes said. “We’re two weeks past our contract expiration, and we’ll continue to try to get there with the companies, but we’re taking a vote this week to put in the hands of the negotiating committee which has the power to call a strike, if necessary.”

If authorized, a strike would come at a time when the casinos are just beginning to show financial recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. The workers, however, are not. The union wants significant wage increases to help deal with the effect of the pandemic coupled with inflation.

For maximum impact, the union could choose the July 4 weekend to throw up pickets when crowds are the largest.

The casinos say money is not rolling in as fast as the union claims. The industry says they only retain 30 percent of the online casino and sports betting revenue. A more accurate measurement would be in-person revenue.

Ocean Casino Resort and Bally’s agreed to honor the terms of contracts eventually reached with some of the larger casino companies in town, but no contracts have yet been agreed upon.