By Brandon Goldner

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The union representing Atlantic City casino workers is warning families their summer plans may be affected by a labor dispute. Union contracts at seven major casinos, including the Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Hard Rock, Resorts Casino and Tropicana, ended on Tuesday.

UNITE HERE Local 54, which represents Atlantic City casino workers, are demanding higher wages amid a competitive job market and inflation.

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“It’s been a rough couple years now,” Janey Negron, a Tropicana bartender and a member of the union’s negotiating committee, said. “Our job was a job where everybody would run to get, and nobody wants to work with what they’re paying.”

According to a 2022 union survey, 61% of nearly 2,000 casino workers said they’ve struggled to pay for housing at least once in the last year, while 37% of workers had trouble paying utilities and 32% of workers struggled to pay for food.

Negron says because casinos haven’t kept up with other companies by raising wages, more jobs are going unfilled, which means longer hours for current employees.

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“It’s affected me greatly,” Negron said. “I have to work, and I also have to find time for my family.”

The union created a website, called “Atlantic City Travel Alert,” which warns visiting families that their summer plans may be affected by a labor dispute.

“I think they’re being taken advantage of down here for many years,” Robert Olivo, who was staying at one of the affected casinos, said. “Casinos are making so much money with their online gambling and me.”

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Eyewitness News requested interviews with the owners of all seven casinos, but only Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City responded with the following statement: “There is no dispute between the Union and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. They have not asked to sit with us yet, as they are meeting with other properties at the moment. However, we have a very positive relationship and fully expect to cooperatively come to terms.”

Brandon Goldner