Atlantic City avoids casino strike with last-minute deal

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Atlantic City casino workers reached agreements on new contracts with four casinos on Thursday, securing labor peace and avoiding a strike on Fourth of July weekend.

Local 54 of the Unite Here union reached tentative agreements with the Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, and three Caesars Entertainment casinos: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana.

Jennifer Cropper, right, signs up a casino worker for strike pay on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 30, 2022. Atlantic City’s top-performing casino, the Borgata, reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the city’s main casin ( AP Photo/Wayne Parry / AP Newsroom)

"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."

The union has said it is seeking "significant" salary increases in new contracts to help workers keep pace with rapidly rising prices for gasoline, food, rent and other expenses.

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A game of roulette underway at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City N.J.  ( AP Photo/Wayne Parry / AP Newsroom)

"I’m super excited," said Ronnette Lark, a housekeeper at Harrah’s. "I've been here 24 years and we’ve never gotten a raise like this. We got big raises."

The union did not reveal the terms of the settlement, saying they need to be presented to the full union membership and ratified before taking effect.

Union members picket outside the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City N.J. on June 1, 2022. The main casino workers union was threatening a strike against at least 5 casinos in July. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry / AP Newsroom)

A Sunday strike deadline remains against the Hard Rock Casino, but the new pacts appear to greatly increase the likelihood of a deal getting done there as well.

The deals avoided what would have been the city’s first casino strike since 2016.

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Representatives of the four casinos did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the agreements.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BALYTWIN RIVER WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC.19.78-0.53-2.61%
MGMMGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL29.01-0.16-0.55%
CZRCAESARS ENTERTAINMENT INC.38.30-1.97-4.89%

Including internet gambling and sports betting revenue, the casinos and their online partners have won $1.8 billion over the first five months of this year. That’s up more than 49% from the same period in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

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But the casinos claim those figures are misleading because third-party partners keep about 70% of internet and sports betting revenue, leaving little for the brick-and-mortar casinos.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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