Labor Peace in Atlantic City

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Bally's, Ocean, Resorts, and Hard Rock Casino are illuminated at dusk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

It was only a month ago that a major strike was looming, as terms for a new contract could not be reached with the nine casinos that line the Boardwalk. However, an eleventh-hour deal was ultimately struck but two casinos had still not come to terms.

That impasse recently ended, guaranteeing labor peace in the New Jersey gambling mecca for four more years.

Contract Blueprint Etched

In the Atlantic City casino community, what one property does for its employees the others do as well. It’s not written anywhere or mandated by any governmental authority; it is merely a manifestation of nine towering gambling palaces being in close proximity to one another and all reaching out to the same local labor pool.

And so it was that when the labor pacts were agreed upon by the vast majority of the casinos earlier this month, the two remaining on the outside looking in realized where they stood. The Golden Nugget and Resorts now understood what it would take to keep their employees from staging a walkout while the other seven properties continued to do business.

After terms were reached between Local 54 of the Unite Here union and the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, and the Tropicana it set the stage for subsequent agreements with the Hard Rock, Oceans, and Bally’s.

“This is the best contract we’ve ever had,” union president Bob McDevitt told The Associated Press shortly after a deal was reached around 11 p.m. “We got everything we wanted and everything we needed. The workers delivered a contract that they can be proud of for years to come.”

Holdouts No More

Earlier this week, the Unite Here union and Resorts came to terms leaving the Golden Nugget as the lone holdout. But that ended shortly thereafter as management agreed to the same essential elements as their Boardwalk competitors.

Resorts World About the New Deal

“It’s a great deal,” said Resorts president Mark Giannantonio. “We’re really thrilled for the employees. They’ve been working really hard for us, and now we’re happy we can put this behind us and move forward with our business.”

While past negotiations have focused on health care and improved pension plans for the workers, this contract would address increased hourly pay which included a $22 per hour wage for housekeeping employees in the fourth year of the contract.

“It’s gratifying after long and difficult negotiations for each side to feel that it has been successful,” said union president Bob McDevitt. “The future of the city is secure, the leadership of the industry is sound, and Local 54 will always fight for the rights of workers.”

Golden Nugget About the New Deal

“We were one of the final casinos that was approached for negotiations and we are proud it was a swift and amicable agreement,” said Tom Pohlman, Golden Nugget’s senior vice president and general manager. “We are excited to be moving forward together and focusing on the quality and level of service that customers have come to expect from the Golden Nugget.”

Atlantic City is alive again and there will be labor peace for the next four years. Let the revitalization of the Boardwalk continue!