The New Jersey State AFL-CIO supports the workers of UNITE HERE! Local 54, who voted today to allow its negotiating committee to authorize strikes against their casino employers.
The hospitality workers of Local 54 have been working without a contract for several weeks as negotiations for a new contract have stalled over wage increases for workers.
Amidst record profits for casinos, the workers are calling for a hike in wages to help them improve their standard of living as prices for goods and services continue to rise at the highest rate in 40 years.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and our affiliates have always supported the casinos and the gaming industry when they needed legislative support. From last year’s massive tax breaks under the payment in lieu of property tax legislation, to 24 hour gaming, EDA financing of the Convention Center, and bars on the beach, every time the casinos have asked for our help, we were there. Now, the workers are struggling and asking for a raise, and instead of being treated with respect, the casinos are turning their backs on them. In order for our partnership to continue, we expect the casinos to negotiate in good faith and we will stand in solidarity with the workers until a resolution is reached in their favor.
If the casinos are not planning to use the generous tax breaks we supported to benefit their workers and the public, then we need to reevaluate our previously supportive relationship and advocate to end the casino’s tax benefits.
Voting to authorize a strike is a serious decision for Local 54. Workers should not need to juggle two or three jobs to make ends meet, or be forced to choose between providing food, housing, or healthcare for themselves and their families. We are calling on the casinos to do the right thing and give the workers a contract with the raises they need to live a middle-class life.