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Atlantic City casino contracts bring 4 years of labor peace

All nine of Atlantic City’s casinos could have new labor contracts by the end of the day Thursday.

Exterior of the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City N.J., in 2020.
Exterior of the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City N.J., in 2020.Read moreWayne Parry / AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City casino workers are getting substantial raises and the gambling halls will enjoy four years of labor peace now that all nine casinos have reached new contracts with the industry’s main employee union.

On Thursday afternoon, the Golden Nugget reached agreement with Local 54 of the Unite Here union on a new contract, the last of the city’s casinos to ink a deal.

The agreement contains the same basic economic elements as those approved at the other eight casinos, including a $22 hourly rate for housekeeping employees in the fourth year of the contract.

» READ MORE: Hard Rock deal ends casino strike threat in Atlantic City

In past contracts, the union had concentrated on preserving health care and pension benefits, but this time sought “significant” pay raises for workers to help them keep pace with spiraling prices for gasoline, food, rent and other living expenses.

It also removes any chance of a strike for the next four years, an important consideration for Atlantic City’s casino industry as it tries to return to the business levels it saw before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020.

“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.”

The union had authorized a strike for Saturday against any casino that remained without a contract.

“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.”

Thursday’s deal with Golden Nugget follows the successful completion of negotiations Wednesday with Resorts casino on a new contract.

“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.”

In addition to raises, the agreements reached with the casinos maintain fully funded family health care and pension benefits, language that protects jobs and increases work opportunities, and new technology protections, the union said.

The union reached agreements on new contracts shortly before early July strike deadlines with the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana and Hard Rock. Two other casinos, Bally’s and the Ocean Casino Resort, agreed to so-called “me-too” deals, committing themselves to adopt the terms of contracts reached by some of the larger properties in the city.

The union will hold ratification votes on the Resorts and Golden Nugget deals next week, but approval is widely expected.