ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The union representing Atlantic City casino workers filed a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, requesting state inspectors to investigate four Atlantic City casinos.
UNITE HERE Local 54 said occupied hotel rooms at Caesar’s Palace, Harrah’s, Tropicana and The Golden Nugget aren’t being cleaned every day, as required by a 2020 state law.READ MORE: Man Killed In Apparent Road Rage Shooting In Springfield, Authorities Say
The union claimed the hotels’ overnight rooms aren’t being cleaned daily because the casinos can’t hire enough people due to the job’s low wages.
The union said those vacancies are forcing current employees to prioritize rooms being checked out, instead of overnight rooms.
According to Caesar’s Palace housekeeper Iris Sanchez, this means fewer cash tips from guests.
“They get upset because, ‘Oh, I was there for five days, and you didn’t give me no service. Oh, don’t have to give you a tip,'” Sanchez said. “On top of the pay being low, it’s just terrible.”
Teresa Lopez, another Caesar’s housekeeper, said she typically works six days a week, which causes her body to ache.
“The body, my feet, my hand,” Lopez said. “[I take] Advil, Tylenol. This is all day.”READ MORE: GUIDE: Where To Watch Fourth Of July Fireworks In Philadelphia Region
These allegations come as the casino workers’ union demands higher wages after their contracts ended last week with multiple casinos, including the four listed in the union’s filing.
The union believes higher wages will lead to more applicants and fewer workloads.
Tameka Calhoun, who’s visiting Atlantic City from Oklahoma, is staying at the Wyndham, and she said that even when her room gets cleaned, she always wipes down every surface.
“Number one priority [is] cleanliness,” Calhoun said. “Especially with everything that’s going on around, COVID, and things like that.”
Golden Nugget Casino’s Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Pohlman emailed Eyewitness News the following statement:
“Golden Nugget holds itself to the highest standards and all rooms are fully cleaned with a very stringent protocol between all new reservations.
Staffing has been an ongoing issue and there are times where staffing shortages do not allow us to clean all overnight stays. Due to COVID, many guests have requested no cleaning during their stay, which on average is less than 2 days.
We advise hotel guests on available and on-demand housekeeping services at check-in. Any time a guest requests for housekeeping services, we absolutely honor that request.
Golden Nugget offers bonuses for housekeeping staff that clean room credits above and beyond what is required.”
New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs released the following statement:
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“DCA’s Division of Codes and Standards sent a letter to all hotel and motel owners advising them of the new law (P.L. 2020, c.37) and its requirements shortly after the law was passed. The Division is responsible for enforcing the NJ Department of Health protocols promulgated under the law, which includes the daily cleaning requirement. The Division is required, as part of its five-year cyclical hotel and motel inspections, to confirm the hotel/motel is in compliance with the law and NJ Department of Health protocols, and also has the authority to conduct inspections pursuant to any complaints filed with the Department.
The Division of Codes and Standards, Bureau of Housing Inspection received a formal complaint late afternoon today. We cannot comment beyond this since the complaint was just received.
Any complaints with regard to non-compliance with NJAC 5:10 or NJSA 55:13A may be sent to BHIInspections@dca.nj.gov or by calling 609-633-6227. Complaints will be investigated by inspection staff.”
Caesar’s Entertainment, which owns Caesar’s Palace, Tropicana, and Harrah’s, has not responded to Eyewitness News’ request for comment.