ATLANTIC CITY — While gaming numbers in our area have been sluggish in recent months, the situation has intensified since hurricane sandy, and now more and more casino workers are looking at a cut in hours or even partial or permanent lay offs.
But members of the casino union unite here local 54 are doing their part to assist these workers during this difficult time.
“No, no I’m lucky I still have a schedule to work,” explained casino employee, Shek Chan.
Unfortunately not every casino worker is as lucky as Shek Chan, as casinos throughout Atlantic City are being forced to cut hours, forcing employees to take leave without pay or layoff workers as a result of the hurricane and its affect on the city’s tourism industry.
“Honestly I didn’t lose power, I didn’t lose electricity anything you know,” explained casino worker, Rodney Mills. “Only thing I lost is wages that’s all.”
“It’s not something you can fight it isn’t an employer that doesn’t want them to work. Frankly there are not enough people in the buildings, not enough hotel occupancy to merit everyone to go back to work,” said Unite Here Local 54 president Bob McDevitt.
In a statement issued by the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, COO Michael Frawley explained the reasoning behind their layoffs.
“We laid off approximately 80 employees. Three–quarters of those positions were seasonal and would have ended soon anyway. However slower than normal business levels caused by Hurricane Sandy pushed the timeline for those cuts sooner than we would have liked,” Michael Frawley stated.
The Atlantic Club isn’t the only casino making cuts somewhere in the payroll.
Other casinos have done the same, but local casino union Unite Here Local 54, has been working hard to assist those in need with FEMA, unemployment and other services through their “Helping Hands Program.”
“You can see a lot of people working together and it’s the best we can do and I believe once the businesses are back in the casinos everyone is going to be back to work,” McDevitt said.
“Oh this is great, this is a crisis. The Union, all the members, the officers came out to help everybody that’s amazing,” Chan expressed.
“This is great because there’s always someone less fortunate than yourself, so I’m just here to help,” Mills said.
And as the casino industry is hoping to bounce back, casino workers are just hoping they can do enough to help one another to stay afloat financially.
“We’re just hoping through work sharing and other methods of co–operation we can get as many people back to work as possible,” McDevitt explained.
Wednesday is the final day for union members and residents to get assistance from the Unite Here Local 54 “Helping Hands” program.