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Union authorizes Atlantic City casino strike next month

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Atlantic City, New Jersey ATLANTIC CITY - Atlantic City casino workers on Wednesday authorized their leaders to call a strike against the gambling houses if new contracts are not reached by the beginning of July.Members of Local 54 of the Unite Here union authorized their negotiating committee to call a July 1 strike against the Borgata and the three casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment — Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana — and a July 3 strike against Hard Rock if new deals are not in place by then.Union president Bob McDevitt said 96% of the "several thousand" union members who cast ballots did so in favor of authorizing a strike."The industry better not take this lightly," he told a cheering ballroom of union members after the vote. "This is a no (B.S.) thing."Contracts expired over two weeks ago and talks have yet to reach a new deal.The "yes" vote will not result in an immediate strike.

It simply gives the union’s negotiating committee, comprised of workers from all nine casinos, the power to call a strike.Spokespeople for Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock declined comment, while executives from other casinos did not immediately respond to requests for comment.McDevitt said the union has so-called "me-too" agreements with Bally's and the Ocean Casino Resort specifying that they will honor the terms of contracts reached with the city's larger properties.

That effectively guarantees those two casinos will not be struck, he said."Bally's and Ocean are in the green zone, Resorts and Golden Nugget are in the yellow zone and the rest are in the red zone," he said.Union members said they are ready to walk out if the call comes."We are fighting for economics across the board, for all job classifications," said Ruth Ann.

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