• KYW News 4:30-7am
    04:00 AM - 07:00 AM

By David Madden

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — A battle over a new union contract at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino seems to be getting ugly.

Union protests last week have led to worker suspensions and subsequent complaints to the feds by the union.

Twenty-one Tropicana workers, many of them leaders in Local 54, were among 50 people arrested last week for blocking access to the casino.

As a result, Tropicana management took action.

“They’re suspended indefinitely,” says CEO Tony Rodio, “and we’re evaluating what steps should be taken. There’s a lot of different options,” including termination.”

That led union president Bob McDevitt to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

“Tropicana management has decided to intimidate the workers and scare them from exercising their union rights,” McDevitt tells KYW Newsradio.

Rodio counters that those arrested were hurting business and breaking the law.

“I recognize their rights to demonstrate, but I also expect that they’ll do it lawfully and within the bounds of what their permit allows for,” Rodio explained.

The main bone of contention seems to be the pension contributions that Tropicana makes to the workers. Owners don’t want to put the company contributions into the fund controlled by the union, and instead are seeking to give the money directly to employees or deposit the funds directly into an employee’s 401(K) account.

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