Tropicana, Atlantic City casino dealers approve deal on first-ever union contract

By Geoff Mulvihill, AP
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Atlantic City casino, dealers get union pact

Dealers at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino and Resort on Thursday approved the first union-bargained contract ever for casino dealers in the gambling mecca.

The deal bargained by United Auto Workers representatives will give dealers 18 percent raises spread over five years.

More than 90 percent of the casino’s 700 dealers who voted Wednesday and Thursday approved the deal, which was announced Thursday by the casino and the union.

It’s the first union contract ever for casino dealers in Atlantic City, coming more than three years after dealers at four casinos in town voted to accept representation from the United Auto Workers.

While it’s common for casino service workers to be unionized, it’s new for dealers to be organized — especially in the nation’s main gambling hubs.

A push to unionize dealers in Las Vegas also began in 2007. Those at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Las Vegas accepted representation but have not reached a settlement.

The deal could clear the way for labor agreements at Trump Entertainment Resorts, Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City. Dealers voted to authorize strikes a year ago, but there’s never been a walkout.

Simultaneously with the union drive, Atlantic City’s gambling industry has suffered mightily under a generally sour economy and increased competition in nearby New York and Pennsylvania.

New Jersey casino regulators stripped the Tropicana’s former owners of their state license in December 2007, citing poor performance including nearly 1,000 layoffs that left the gambling hall dirty and understaffed.

The casino continued to operate even after its owners entered bankruptcy court protection.

In January, billionaire Carl Icahn received regulatory approval to take control of nine Tropicana Entertainment LLC casinos in Nevada, Indiana, Louisiana and Mississippi as they emerged from a separate bankruptcy. Icahn’s purchase of Atlantic City’s Tropicana was finalized in March.

will not be displayed