Six thousand casino workers in Atlantic City voted in favor of a strike if new contract agreements aren't reached by the first week of July.
Members of Local 54 of the Unite Here, who are bartenders, cocktail servers, hotel housekeepers, and valets, walked into the Atlantic City Convention Center to cast their vote on Wednesday to authorize a strike if they didn't see higher pay.
By late evening, the casino labor union tweeted: "The Votes Are In: Thousands of casino workers cast ballots today and 96% have voted in favor of authorizing the worker negotiation committee to call a strike if an agreement is not reached with Caesars, Harrah's, Tropicana, and Borgata, by July 1st and Hard Rock by July 3rd!"
THE VOTES ARE IN: Thousands of casino workers cast ballots today and 96% have voted in favor of authorizing the worker negotiation committee to call a strike if an agreement is not reached with Caesars, Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Borgata, by July 1st and Hard Rock by July 3rd! pic.twitter.com/OZrLsgHeuO— UNITE HERE Local 54 (@UHLocal54) June 15, 2022
Local 54 of Unite Here members saw their contracts expire on May 31 and now demand a 38% increase in the minimum wage to $18 per hour amid the highest inflation in four decades.
The threat of a strike comes as the summer tourism season is underway and could paralyze parts of the beach and the ocean casino town.
"I'm ready, I'm ready for fight. I'm ready for fight because it's too much," one casino worker told local news, CBS Philly. "The company don't want to listen, they don't want to give nothing to nobody."
Casino labor union president Bob McDevitt warned: "I caution the industry not to take this lightly. They need to take this seriously ... This is a no [expletive] thing."
Caesar's, Harrah's, and Tropicana have until July 1 to meet the labor union's demands. Hard Rock has until July 3.
While a strike is not yet certain, the threats of one are alarming and the entire town is on edge.