Bob McDevitt Reelected President of Atlantic City Casino Labor Union
McDevitt secured another three-year term as president of the casino labor union ahead of industry-wide bargaining
Bob McDevitt was reelected president of Atlantic City’s UNITE HERE Local 54 labor union to serve another three-year term. Mr. McDevitt defeated Al Tabei in the race for the leader of the casino workers’ union, The Press of Atlantic City reported earlier today.
The election took place on Friday. A total of 1,596 votes were cast and Mr. McDevitt received 932 of these to remain president of the labor union. He has held that position since 1996.
Mr. Tabei said that he would contest the results of the election. He pointed out that 152 of the ballots cast needed to be challenged because the voters behind these were not “up-to-date with union dues.” Mr. McDevitt’s challenger went on to say that “the results are questionable at this time” because some of Atlantic City’s casinos allowed unionized workers only a small window to leave their workplaces and cast their votes. This was an issue for some of them as there were long lines at the polls.
Local 54 represents nearly a third of all workers employed at Atlantic City’s gambling venues, including restaurant, housekeeping, and environmental services staff.
Following his victory on Friday, Mr. McDevitt said that the union would now focus its attention on the upcoming industry-wide bargaining negotiations. These are set to commence next year.
Ocean Casino Resort and Hard Rock Atlantic City Unionization Progress
The unionization of Atlantic City’s newest casinos has been high on Local 54’s agenda over the past year. Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Ocean Resort Casino) and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City opened doors on the very same day in June 2018.
Workers at Hard Rock Atlantic City, which opened doors at the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal, recently voted in favor of their unionization. Negotiations with Florida-based hospitality giant Hard Rock International were topping Local 54’s priority list as the closure of Trump Taj Mahal was largely due to a public spar between Local 54 and the property’s then-owner, New York activist investor Carl Icahn.
Mr. Icahn shuttered the hotel and casino resort in the fall of 2016 after failing to reach an agreement with unionized workers. Trump Taj Mahal staff members picketed the property for more than three months, demanding improved contracts. Mr. McDevitt was at the forefront of the dispute.
It is still unknown when workers at Ocean Casino Resort will vote to join Local 54, but it is believed this will happen before the beginning of the 2020 industry-wide bargaining.
Mr. McDevitt recently called on New Jersey gambling regulators to take due measures to protect the state’s casino industry from greedy Wall Street investors who could unleash disastrous impact on local gambling venues in their pursuit of quick profit.
Atlantic City’s gaming industry is experiencing a bit of a renaissance after a tumultuous decade that, among other things, saw five of the city’s 12 casinos close doors between 2014 and 2016. Last year, the sector recorded a third straight year of gaming revenue growth and employed more than 30,000 people for the very first time since 2014.
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