ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Four Atlantic City casinos reached a last-minute agreement on a new contract with the city’s main casino workers’ union Thursday, averting a strike on Fourth of July weekend.
The Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana all reached a deal with Local 54 of the Unite Here union on Thursday. A Sunday strike deadline remains against Hard Rock.
-__ THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Atlantic City's top-performing casino, the Borgata, reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with the city's main casino workers' union Thursday evening, avoiding a strike during one of the busiest weekends of the year.
But the prospect of a Friday morning strike remained in place Thursday at Caesars, Harrah's and the Tropicana, where bargaining was to resume at 7 p.m. in hopes of beating a 12:01 a.m. deadline for a walkout at those three casinos, all of which are owned by Caesars Entertainment.
Local 54 of the Unite Here union confirmed the agreement but would not reveal its terms, saying they first have to be presented to and ratified by the union's membership. A vote was not immediately scheduled.
The Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A fifth casino, the Hard Rock, faces a strike deadline at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Union members continued preparing Thursday for a possible walkout, signing up at a table on the Boardwalk outside Caesars for reduced-rate pay from a strike fund the union maintains to enable striking workers to maintain some income during labor disputes.
Even if the union does go on strike, the casinos and their hotels will remain open for business; staffing levels and the quality of service could vary greatly depending on many variables.
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.
Individual workers also say they helped keep the casinos open and running for most of the coronavirus pandemic, now in its third year, and deserve to be compensated for it.
Two casinos, Bally's and Ocean, have reached “me-too” agreements with the union, in which they commit to adopting the terms of contracts eventually reached with larger properties in the city, and will not face a walkout.
Likewise, union president Bob McDevitt said that two smaller casinos, Resorts and the Golden Nugget, are not at risk of a labor stoppage for the time being, as the union has yet to negotiate with them.
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