Labor Peace in Atlantic City

atlantic city casino workers on strike
Atlantic City casino workers rally and march on behalf of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 54. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images/AFP

If you plan on visiting Atlantic City anytime soon, then you don’t have to worry about picket lines stationed up and down the Boardwalk.

That’s because a four-year labor agreement was reached and things continue to look up for a gaming industry that was in the throes of despair not long ago.

Strike None

The unions were ready to strike but an eleventh-hour deal was hammered out and now the union workers can get on with the business of working while the operators can continue making progress towards providing a more desirable East Coast gambling destination.

Unlike in previous years, the main focus was not on healthcare and pension benefits but rather on getting the workers a pay raise that would allow them to keep up with the cost of inflation and soaring gas prices.

It appears the union got a solid deal from the owners and now the casinos are guaranteed four years of contractual peace.

“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.”

Almost Everyone on Board

Deals were reached with the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Hard Rock earlier in July which bode well for completing agreements with the other four properties.

Bally’s and the Ocean Casino Resort were shoe-ins as both had agreed to “me-too” deals, agreeing to adopt the terms of the contracts negotiated by the first five to sign.

Therefore, it was only Resorts World and the Golden Nugget that remained on the outside looking in but that came to an abrupt halt when Resorts World announced they had successfully negotiated a contract with their union members.

“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.”

Mark Giannantonio had recently been named the CEO of the Casino Association of Atlantic City succeeding Hard Rock CEO, Joe Lupo, who was tapped by his company to head up the Hard Rock’s yet-to-be-built casino on the Las Vegas Strip forcing him to vacate the position.

The Final Nugget to Fall

The Golden Nugget was the last remaining casino without a deal but that soon ended and the terms were similar to the agreements reached by the other eight properties.

“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.”

The successful conclusions are good news for all who have witnessed the remarkable renaissance of the Boardwalk properties. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into redecorating and reclaiming the decadent glory that was the Atlantic City Boardwalk back in its heyday.

But the onslaught of the global pandemic put a halt to the gains that were being made. Wooing visitors back to the beach at the Boardwalk as well as the gaming tables has been a tall order for the gaming operators but gains have been made.

And now that these agreements have been struck, it appears there will be more innovative gaming and world-class amenities at the majestic properties along the Boardwalk. Maybe it’s time to take a trip?