Atlantic City casino workers at multiple properties are now officially working without a contract. As they seek to remedy that situation with a planned demonstration, the casinos they want to negotiate with are holding a job fair.
One labor organization plans to form a picket line in front of the Tropicana tonight. It’s too early to tell whether that will be sufficient to achieve concessions from the casinos or if further action will become necessary.
Atlantic City casino workers seek new contracts
At midnight Wednesday morning, contracts between Atlantic City casinos and unions like Unite Here Local 54 expired. Although talks continued through Tuesday afternoon, sides were too far apart to reach even a tentative agreement.
According to Wayne Parry of the Associated Press, Local 54 will respond by picketing the Tropicana. They are seeking what they call “significant” pay raises, although union leaders have not yet specified exact thresholds.
Casinos and the union were in talks for over a month prior to the contracts expiring. So far, workers are still reporting amid the lack of a contract and the planned picketing. That could change, however.
Could a strike be looming?
Local 54 president Bob McDevitt said that so far, the union has not scheduled a vote on any labor stoppages. That’s a necessary step prior to any actual strike. There’s no guarantee such a motion would pass even if the union does hold a vote.
If a strike does occur, it will be the first work stoppage at casinos in New Jersey since 2016. That year, workers walked out during their shifts at the former Trump Taj Mahal, which is now the Hard Rock.
It seems the casinos are preparing to try to get through a work stoppage, though. The Casino Association of New Jersey, of which all nine Atlantic City properties are part, is holding a job fair on Thursday.
The advertisements for the job fair tout on-the-spot hires. While it’s unclear if those positions would be contingent on a work stoppage by union members, that’s an unlikely premise.
New hires could further strain what is already a growingly tense relationship between the casinos and the union. While Wednesday’s action at the Tropicana might be the start of the union escalating its actions, it could be far from the end of such escalation.