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Jerome García June 21, 2020 3 min read
Atlantic City Casino Workers Demand Healthcare Benefits from Gambling Firms
With casino workers in Atlantic City facing the danger of losing their health coverage, members of Unite Here Local 54 have protested, demanding from gambling firms to show support and help them cover their health benefits.
Casino Workers Call for Healthcare Support from Gaming Giants
Unionized casino workers in Las Vegas are beginning to simmer with Unite Here Local 54 union holding a protest rally on Friday and calling on Atlantic City’s nine casinos to pay for casino workers healthcare benefits.
The move comes amid rising tensions about the undetermined restart of the casino industry in the state, albeit decreasing number of new COVID-19 patients. The union has so far helped casino employees with insurance money, but funding is scant and workers will now have to fallback on the companies that had been forced to furlough them.
Specifically, Unite Here Local 54 has insisted that casino brands step up and pay up for the insurance expenditures of their workers. The rally held at the end of the week met at the Atlantic City Expressway and circled Harrah’s Resort and the Borgata.
No Money Left for Healthcare
With business in Atlantic City shuttered for over 80 days now, since mid-March, New Jersey’s gambling Mecca has had to shut down all casinos, prompting massive furloughs and leaving most casino workers without an alternative. Even though Governor Phil Murphy expects the industry to restart on July 4, there are no guarantees that this would happen.
While workers have been able to deal with unemployment, facing lack of health coverage has proven a tipping point. Their protests come in the wake of a newly-approved tax break for casinos in the Garden State, which should help them offset the costs.
So far, the casino workers had the union to rely on for health benefits, but Unite Here Local 54’s war chest has run, leaving workers to fend for themselves. Should casinos fail to answer this call to arms, workers will be left without coverage once June is out.
Casinos Not Standing by Idly
To their benefit, casinos haven’t responded callously. New Jersey’s operators represent the nation’s leading operators, including Caesars and MGM, both of which have done right by employees for a while and in the crucial months after the crisis.
One of the most notable examples of commiseration with casino staff has been shown by Las Vegas Sands Corp, owned by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, which kept paying casino staff for two months after the initial closures.
Presently, union leaders are in talks with casino executives in a bid to find a solution to a pressing problem. Union workers have also called from lawmakers to consider making the savings from the mulled tax break, which is still pending Assembly approval, towards the healthcare coverage of workers.