Atlantic City Union Reaches Deal With Three Casinos

A day before a possible walkout, unionized workers have reached a deal with Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s. Trop and Taj workers could strike tomorrow.

Atlantic City beach at night

Photo | Dan McQuade

UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Per The Press of Atlantic City, workers at the Tropicana Casino have reached a tentative agreement with management. Only the Trump Taj Mahal remains without an agreement with Local 54 UNITE-HERE.

EARLIER: The union that represents nearly all uniformed Atlantic City workers has reached a deal with three casinos before a Friday deadline.

UNITE-HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt confirmed Thursday morning the union had reached a deal with Caesars Entertainment, which owns Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s casinos in Atlantic City. McDevitt declined interview requests and did not release details of the contract.

UNITE-HERE still does not have a contact agreement with two casinos: The Tropicana and the Trump Taj Mahal. Both are owned by Icahn Enterprises, the company controlled by billionaire Carl Icahn. On Tuesday, McDevitt said a strike was “likely.”

The union has said it wants the restoration of a week of paid vacation it gave up in 2011, a wage increase of $3 per hour (phased in over five years) and more employer contributions to the union’s health fund (enough to keep benefits at current levels).

It’s not clear how far away the union is with the Tropicana and the Taj. About 2,000 UNITE-HERE members work at the two casinos. On Tuesday, McDevitt said the union was relatively close to a contract with the Trop — and closer on some issues than it was with the Caesars casinos. “The folks at the Taj don’t have anything other than a wage,” McDevitt said then. “They are much further behind the rest of the workers than the other workers at the properties at the city.”

About 3,000 workers showed up for a strike vote this month, and 96 percent voted to authorize it. “Since that vote, the atmosphere has changed dramatically,” McDevitt said earlier this week. The casinos “seem to want to get to a deal. But, as always, the devil’s in the details. The deal that they may want may not be the deal that the workers will accept.”

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