The Timeline of Atlantic City Casino Workers Strike 2022

Atlantic City, New Jersey, is popular due to the popular perception of get-rich-quick success where a little bit of luck may bring the good life. However, that image may not reflect the reality of the hundreds of employees of gambling establishments as they went on strike, demanding higher minimum wages.

Atlantic City Casino Workers Strike of 2022

As of March 2022, the living wage for one adult without children in Atlantic county is $18.83 per hour, according to the MIT living wage calculator, but the average hourly compensation for non-tipped casino employees was $15.81 and $8.80 for tipped workers.

In a union survey published in late April of this year of 1,934 casino employees in Atlantic City, it was discovered that 61% of respondents had at least once in the previous year struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, 32% had struggled to afford food, 37% had struggled to pay their utilities, and 27% had struggled to pay for transportation.

While revenues at their casinos in Atlantic City have topped pre-pandemic levels, workers have alleged that the low pay has caused staffing shortages at casinos, which has increased workloads for employees.

In previous contracts, the workers’ union focused on protecting health care and pension benefits. This time the union wanted “substantial” salary increases for workers this time around to help them keep up with the rising cost of living.

More than 6,000 workers, including cocktail servers, bartenders, valets, and hotel housekeepers, are impacted by the decision and are requesting salary increases and more staffing due to a labor shortage.

The union that represents them, Unite Here Local 54, is requesting a minimum wage raise of 38%, to $18 per hour. On June 8 it complained that the hotels weren’t having their rooms cleaned every day, which put an extra burden on the already understaffed staff.

On May 31, after their previous contracts expired without a new agreement in place, the employees represented by Unite Here Local 54 voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike if a new union contract is not reached by 1 July at Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and the Borgata, and on 3 July for Hard Rock,  the former Trump Taj Mahal casino.

The Borgata may lose an estimated $1.6 million per day, and Caesars, Tropicana, and Harrah’s could each lose $1 million per day.

A Deal Has Been Reached

When it comes to the July 1st strikes, the four Casinos have reached a tentative agreement with the workers’ union averting a bigger strike. The deal would still need to be approved by the membership, according to Rocco Mahoney, a spokeswoman for the union.

And as for the July 3rd strikes, according to iGamingNJ, the management of the Hard Rock Casino and Local 54 of the Unite Here union have come to an agreement to put an end to the strike threat that had been looming for the previous few weeks.

Hard Rock Casino’s management was able to come to an agreement the day before employees acted during the casino’s busiest travel season.