The majority of Atlantic City casino workers reached new four-year contracts with their resort employers just before the July 4th Independence Day weekend. But union members at Golden Nugget and Resorts say their employers have yet to agree to the terms that provide higher wages.
Unite Here Local 54 is the leading casino workers’ union in Atlantic City. The organization reached new collective bargaining agreements with seven of the nine casinos in town in early July.
MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Hard Rock International found middle ground with the union in agreeing to increase base hourly pay from $16 an hour to $18 an hour — a 12.5% increase — for all union members employed at one of the casinos. The base pay will climb to $22 an hour by the final year of the contract.
MGM operates Borgata, while Caesars operates its namesake property, plus Harrah’s and Tropicana. Along with Hard Rock, Ocean Casino and Bally’s have agreed with the union to uphold the new labor terms, which run through 2026.
But Golden Nugget and Resorts has so far refused to implement the new collective bargaining agreements that the seven other casinos have ratified.
With their current contracts at Golden Nugget and Resorts set to expire this Friday, July 22, workers at the two casinos last night voted to authorize a strike. The union represents around 1,000 employees at the two properties.
It’s unclear where exactly the negotiations between union reps and the two remaining casinos stand. Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Atlantic City, said it has become customary for the Local 54 union to authorize a strike ahead of negotiations.
The union says it isn’t looking to further negotiate. Instead, the union plans to present Golden Nugget and Resorts with the four-year terms reached with the seven other casinos with the expectation that they sign on.
The worker negotiating committee plans to present the new agreements to their employers asking them to accept the terms already agreed to by their competitors,” a union release explained.
“We just want what workers at the other casinos in the city are getting,” said J. Eger, a bartender at Golden Nugget casino. “We’re not asking for any more or any less.”
Golden Nugget, Resorts Struggling
Atlantic City casinos continue to recover from the pandemic, though brick-and-mortar gaming revenue continues to remain below 2019 levels.
However, when iGaming and sports betting are factored in, statewide gross gaming revenue has reached unprecedented heights. But much of the online revenue is shared with third-party vendors that operate platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel.
2021 was nonetheless a positive year for eight of the nine casinos. Bally’s was the lone exception, which lost $13.2 million running the place as it undergoes a major renovation. That’s after the property was sold by Caesars Entertainment to the newly formed Bally’s Corporation in November 2020.
Though Golden Nugget and Resorts were profitable last year, they ranked last among the eight profitable properties. Golden Nugget said its profits before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, charges from affiliates, and other miscellaneous items totaled $35.6 million. Resorts’ gross profit was $27.6 million.
By comparison, Borgata reported a gross profit of $174 million last year, Tropicana $118.7 million, and Hard Rock almost $107 million.
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