The Atlantic City casino union that represents some 10,000 workers employed by the nine resorts says at least four properties are not cleaning their hotel guestrooms as required by the state.
Unite Here Local 54 represents Atlantic City hotel housekeepers. The union, which is amid new contract negotiations with the nine casinos, says at least four properties are violating an ongoing COVID-19 order issued by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
Prior to allowing the resorts to reopen ahead of the July 4 holiday in 2020 after being closed since mid-March, Murphy’s state-ordered reopening protocols included daily cleaning of hotel rooms. Unite Here says Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Golden Nugget are not following the decree.
The union recently filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Community Affairs regarding the alleged housekeeping infractions. Three of those casinos are run by Caesars Entertainment, while Golden Nugget is owned by Tilman Fertitta’s Landry’s hospitality group.
Union Scolds Casinos
Unite Here Local 54’s labor agreements that set basic compensation and benefits framework, as well as a myriad of working conditions, expired June 1. The trade group is seeking a “significant” pay raise for its 10,000 members.
The union is upping the ante with public pressure amid the discussions. With the gaming town’s busy summer season underway, the union is warning travelers that their vacations could be disrupted if the casinos don’t meet the union’s demands.
Unite Here last month launched its “Atlantic City Travel Alert” providing guests with non-gaming union hotel operations in town that are not impacted by the contract expirations. Though the union did not comment directly on the casino housekeeping complaint it filed, Unite Here Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said the decision by resorts to forego daily room cleaning is likely a financial one.
These folks in housekeeping in Atlantic City are just one part of a larger workforce that is systematically overworked and understaffed,” McDevitt told the Associated Press.
In its complaint, the union said Golden Nugget in April posted a sign at check-in informing guests that daily housekeeping was unavailable, but daily linens and towels were available upon request.
Casinos Cite Labor Shortage
Golden Nugget General Manager Tom Pohlman said the casino is facing ongoing challenges in finding workers to service its guestrooms. But he maintains that the Marina District casino is safe and clean.
“[Golden Nugget] holds itself to the highest standards, and all rooms are fully cleaned with a very stringent protocol between all new reservations,” Pohlman said. “We advise hotel guests on available and on-demand housekeeping services at check-in.”
The casino executive added that because of labor shortages, the Golden Nugget is unable to service all occupied rooms on a nightly basis. Caesars Entertainment did not respond to comment requests on the housekeeping complaint.
Murphy’s 2020 order requires that the casinos make every effort to clean each occupied guestroom daily. But guests remain permitted to ask that such housekeeping not be performed. However, the casinos are to follow their “Do Not Disturb” wellness check policies for guests who decline cleaning.
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