Union Chief Seeks to Protect Revel Jobs

Bob McDevitt (l.), the leader of Atlantic City’s largest casino union, is urging the state of New Jersey to protect the jobs of 3,000 workers at the Revel casino in case of a sale.

Amid rumors of a possible sale of Revel, Atlantic City’s newest casino, the head of the largest union representing the city’s casino workers is urging the state to protect the jobs of the casino’s 3,000 employees.

UNITE-HERE President Bob McDevitt, long a critic of the non-union Revel, wrote a letter to New Jersey’s Investment Council, which oversees the state pension fund, addressing rumors that buyers courting Revel—Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock International are among those interested—plan to close down the casino for renovation, and either lay off its employees or force them to reapply for their jobs to the new owner.

McDevitt, who in the past has blamed the state-supported opening of Revel in the middle of a depressed market for the recent closing of the Atlantic Club and loss of those 1,600 jobs, is urging the state to avoid a repeat performance.

“We find it outrageous that Revel, a casino that received over $300 million in state subsidies and that contributed to the cannibalization of the Atlantic City market could now end up throwing another 3,000 hard-working men and women back into a very difficult job market, or make them reapply for jobs that they are already performing,” McDevitt wrote.

The so-called subsides were tax credits against profits. Since Revel hasn’t posted any profits up to this time, the state has not provided and “subsidies” to Revel.

McDevitt is calling on the state council to require Chatham Asset Management, which owns a 22 percent stake in the casino and is its licensee, to guarantee that the existing workforce be retained in the event of a purchase. He also took a stab at the state and the Investment Council, which in November approved a $300 million investment in Chatham, making the state the company’s second-largest investor.

“These investments follow a long string of New Jersey governmental support for Revel and its owners,” McDevitt wrote. “From the outset, the state has justified its interest in Revel with the promise of jobs, but has shown little regard for the workers who filled those jobs, or for the workers who lost their jobs, in part, due to Revel’s unwelcome contribution to overcapacity in the Atlantic City market.

“We would be very interested to learn about the process by which Chatham was selected from the scores of similar funds engaged in similar strategies. We respectfully suggest that the impact of Chatham’s decisions on the economy of South Jersey should also be considered. After all, plenty of New Jersey state employees and retirees call south New Jersey home and have spouses or loved one whose livelihoods are tied to the health of the casino industry.”

Neither the state nor Revel has commented on the letter.