After picketing on the Boardwalk for higher wages, workers vote overwhelmingly in favor of strike authorization
Atlantic City— Yesterday evening at 7:38pm, UNITE HERE Local 54 announced that members from Caesars, Tropicana, Harrah’s, Borgata, and Hard Rock casinos voted 96% “yes” to authorize a strike, if called by the worker negotiating committee. The negotiating committee then set a strike deadline of July 1 if an agreement is not reached with Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Borgata, and July 3 for Hard Rock. Workers flooded the Convention Center today between 8am-7pm to cast their ballots with the results revealed at a press conference held shortly after the polls closed and ballots were counted.
Over the years, casino workers have sacrificed wage increases for the health of the industry. Workers have persevered though casino closures, Hurricane Sandy, and a global pandemic. Now, they’re falling behind. As industry’s profits and gaming revenues surpass pre- pandemic levels, wages for Atlantic City’s casino workers have not kept pace.
In a recent UNITE HERE survey of 1,934 casino workers, 61% reported they struggled to pay their rent or mortgage on time in the past year. 32% reported they lacked money for food, and 37% for utilities. Click here to read full report: Atlantic City Casino Workers Need a Raise.
After contracts expired on May 31, workers picketed on the Boardwalk to demand the raises they urgently need and deserve. The vote puts the decision of whether and when to strike in the hands of the worker negotiating committee, which is made up of hundreds of workers from all nine casinos.
“We can’t wait and hope that the companies will do the right thing,” said Nikki Schwendeman, a Borgata Food Server who’s been in the industry for 38 years. “They need to know that we’re serious about winning the raises we deserve. That’s why I joined thousands of other members and voted yes to authorize a strike today.”
Members of the worker negotiating committee are available for interviews. Please call to coordinate. The Press Conference was livestreamed on Facebook and is available on the UNITE HERE Local 54 Facebook page.
Contact: Bethany Holmes, 213-675-0905, [email protected]
UNITE HERE Local 54 Atlantic City has been representing hospitality workers in the hospitality industry for over 100 years. Our members work as housekeepers, bartenders, cocktail servers, cooks, bellmen, doormen, and other service jobs in the casinos and hospitality industry of South Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. With over 10,000 members, Local 54 is the largest private sector union in the region. Local 54 is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international labor union that represents 300,000 working people across North America.