Casino dealers plan rally in Atlantic City

June 21, 2008 3:21:45 AM PDT
Hundreds of casino dealers from around the nation are expected to attend a large rally in Atlantic

It's to show support of newly unionized colleagues who have thus far gotten nowhere in contract talks with the city's gaming halls.

Since the United Auto Workers started a major push to unionize dealers at all 11 Atlantic City casinos 15 months ago, it won representation elections at four casinos - Caesars, Trump Plaza, the Tropicana Casino and Resort, and Bally's Atlantic City.

But it lost elections at Trump Marina Hotel Casino and the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said Saturday's rally "will send a powerful message: that it's time to bargain fair contracts for all Atlantic City casino workers."

"The freedom to form a union and bargain is the single most important ticket to the middle class for working men and women," added AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

Unionizing dealers has been a decades-long goal in Atlantic City. In late 1982, dealers at what was then called Bally's Park Place voted to form a union, but were unable to reach agreement with the company on a contract, and went on strike the following May.

Union officials say winning representation elections was the easy part; getting management to agree to and sign a contract has proven impossible thus far.