April 29, 2024 3 min read

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Atlantic City Casino Workers Clash with Gov. Murphy Over Smoking Ban

CEASE, in conjunction with UAW Region 9, has initiated legal proceedings against Gov. Murphy and the state health commissioner, challenging the exemption awarded to casinos under the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006

Atlantic City casino workers have voiced their discontent with Gov. Phil Murphy‘s stance on the smoking ban proposal. The governor’s comments during News 12’s “Ask Gov. Murphy” program stirred controversy among members of the Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) group, who vehemently oppose his assertion that there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue.

Casino Workers and Industry Debate Escalates Over Smoking Ban Advocacy

During the program, Gov. Murphy acknowledged the differing viewpoints within the casino industry regarding the proposed ban. He highlighted the concerns raised by the United Auto Workers (UAW), representing dealers, who advocate for the ban citing the discomfort caused by patrons smoking in close proximity. 

Conversely, he pointed out the reservations expressed by Local 54 of Unite Here, another prominent union, fearing adverse impacts on business if the ban were to be implemented.

Responding to the governor’s remarks, Pete Naccarelli, co-founder of CEASE, emphasized the lack of parity in the debate. He criticized Gov. Murphy for according legitimacy to what he termed as “casino industry scare tactics,” which he believes are fueled by unsubstantiated claims. 

Naccarelli asserted that independent research, based on current data, indicates that casinos could actually experience enhanced revenue in a smoke-free environment. He called upon Gov. Murphy to exhibit leadership in safeguarding the well-being of workers, stressing that no one should be compelled to compromise their health for the sake of employment.

Atlantic City Casino Workers’ Lawsuit Faces Setback Amid Hearing Postponement

CEASE, in collaboration with UAW Region 9, has taken legal action against Gov. Murphy and the state health commissioner, contesting the exemption granted to casinos from the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2006. A court hearing to address the matter has been scheduled for May 13, underscoring the escalating tensions surrounding the issue.

The postponement of the anticipated hearing for the lawsuit seeking a smoking ban in Atlantic City casinos, filed by workers represented by CEASE and the UAW union, presents a setback in their efforts for safer workplaces. 

Pete Naccarelli previously expressed frustration over the delay, highlighting the continued health risks faced by thousands of workers. Despite opposition from the Casino Association of New Jersey, workers remain determined to pursue a comprehensive ban, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding health and constitutional rights.

Workers in Atlantic City casinos, represented by the UAW, resorted to legal action by filing the lawsuit challenging the exemption that allows smoking in gambling establishments, arguing it violates equal protection under the law. 

This move reflects ongoing efforts to address concerns about workplace safety amid the industry’s resistance to banning smoking, sparking similar campaigns in other states such as Rhode IslandPennsylvaniaKansas, and Virginia, and drawing attention to the broader issue of workers’ rights in the gaming sector.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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