Resorts, union sign contract, ending long fight

January 4, 2013 1:25:18 PM PST
One of the longest and most bitter labor disputes in Atlantic City is over.

Resorts Casino Hotel has signed a contract with the main casino workers' union, ending a more than two-year dispute that included picketing on the Boardwalk and a pressure campaign by Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union to have other unions cancel their conventions at Resorts.

Both sides signed off on the deal in late December, but they didn't reveal the pact until this week.

Resorts spokeswoman Courtney Birmingham said the union recommended the contract to its members on Dec. 19 and the rank and file approved it two days later. The deal has "terms and conditions essentially the same as those reached by other Atlantic City casinos," she said Friday.

Local 54 staged numerous boisterous rallies on the Boardwalk outside Resorts, angered by steep pay cuts that its owners imposed on workers when new management took over the casino in December 2010. During one of those demonstrations, the union helped some of its members fill out applications for food stamps in an attempt to embarrass the casino.

"This contract provides for immediate raises for a majority of the workers whose wages were greatly reduced," union president Bob McDevitt said. "All of our members who picketed and rallied should be proud of the work they did to secure the future for themselves and the rest of the city."

Resorts countered that the cuts were necessary to keep the struggling casino from having to close, something that nearly happened before Dennis Gomes and Morris Bailey took it over for $31.5 million in 2010. Since then, Resorts has become marginally profitable as its finances have stabilized. It is expected to benefit from a marketing alliance and management deal it signed last year with the Mohegan Indian tribe of Connecticut, which runs casinos there and in Pennsylvania.

Gomes died in February, prompting Bailey to ink the management deal with the Mohegans.

Nine of the city's 12 casinos now have labor deals with Local 54. The Tropicana, the Borgata and Revel do not.