IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN THAT....
I spend a lot of time down in Atlantic City at the casinos (I was
suposed to be
there this weekend...but, picket lines mean don't cross, so I had to
cancel my reservation at the Tropicana)
Just to break it down for you, most of the customers in the AC
casinos are New Yorkers, and, since most of us don't own cars, we
take busses from here down there (some leave from Port Authority,
others leave from working class neighborhoods, and, in either case,
they drive right into the private bus terminals at 11 of the 12
casions...the newly built "Las Vegas-style" Borgata's too high class
for the working class "bus patrons" so they don't have a bus terminal
in their house...their more affluent patrons come in their own
A lot of folks from Newark, Jersey City, Westchester, Long Island,
Philadelphia, the Philly suburbs, Wilmington, Baltimore and DC also
come in on busses as well....
The bus routes into AC are the busiest interurban bus routes IN THE
WORLD...they carry several MILLION patrons a year into the casinos...
And, since AC is an island, there are only 3 ways in for heavy
vehicles like busses and trucks..the AC Expressway Bridge, the Albany
Av Bridge on Black Horse Pike, and the Absecon Blvd Bridge...
Also, a lot of the bus drivers are union..Greyhound is the second
largest carrier going into the city, and, of course, their drivers
are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union....
The biggest carrier, Academy Bus Lines, is a scab company...but, a
lot of their part time drivers from New York are moonlighting MTA New
York City Transit bus drivers, who are members of Transport Workers
Union Local 100....
The rest of the carriers are all scab, Coach USA, and a bunch of
independents (some of which are owned by gangsters from
Chinatown...they're the cheapest busses to take, but your taking your
life in your hands....sometimes thugs from rival companies will
attack the busses at their pick up/drop off point in Chatham
Square..and make the passengers board rival busses)
The non union drivers get paid chump change...Academy pays it's
drivers a flat $ 75 bucks a trip for the NYC-AC round trip [an
approximately 2 to 3 hour drive each way, depending on traffic]...the
independents pay even less....
As for the deliveries...pretty much everything that goes into the
casinos goes in union...the liquor, the sodas, the beer, the meat,
the fresh seafood, the vegtables, the fruit, the canned goods, the
laundry and above all, the cold cash money (it's an all cash
business..and there's a LOT of paper money and coinage that goes in
and out of those houses..they use little tractors pulling little 4
wheeled metal trailers to haul the money around the casinos early in
Almost all of those drivers are Teamsters...some from out of Philly
or South Jersey, some from North Jersey, and even some from New York
If you stopped the busses and delivery trucks, forgetaboutit....those
casinos would come to a screeching halt with a quickness....
But, that's not gonna happen...since UNITE HERE local 54 can't even
stop the casinos....
5 of the houses are still running...Mr Trump's 3 properties, plus the
Borgata and Resorts Int'l....they all have special deals with the
union....since Trump Marina and the Borgata are open, the whole West
Side of AC is open for business as usual, only the boardwalk
properties are affected..and even there, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal
and Resorts are running...
And, at the other 7 houses...a huge chunk of the workers are still on
The table game dealers (the folks who run the live gaming at the
tables - poker, craps, roulette, blackjack ect) and the bookepers are
all non union - thanks to a deal that the then-mobbed up HERE made
with gangster Ben Siegel out in Las Vegas back in 1947...they agreed
that the union would not represent anybody who handled money in a
casino, so Siegel and his "associates" could "discipline" them as
they saw fit....
In those days, "labor discipline" in Las Vegas often involved a .45
caliber slug to the head...and that's actually how Ben Siegel left
this Earth shortly after making that arraingment with the HERE, since
his bosses felt he wasn't adequately running Vegas for them....
These day's it's not quite so brutal...bookeepers get fired instead
of murdered, table game dealers get docked and suspended rather than
having their hands broken....but, these workers are still subject to
the whims of management, with no union protection...since HERE kept
it's promise to Ben Siegel, and, from that day to this, has refused
to organize any casino worker who handles money...
The only workers who handle money in AC who are union are the slot
machine attendants...they were organized by the Teamsters..and, whey
they struck Caesar's Atlantic City in the summer of 2001, local 54
scabbed on them and kept working behind their picketline....
This year, the slot machine attendants returned the favor, and
they're scabbing on local 54....
They, and the non union managers, table game dealers, bookeepers and
office workers are, after they finish their regular shifts, do a
second shift as cooks, buspeople, waitpeople, bartenders, bar backs,
cocktail servers, housekeepers, porters, laundry workers, room
service workers, concierges, bellmen/women, valet parkers, bus
greeters and the other service jobs that are normally done by local
Also, Park Place Entertainment, the Nevada-based owner of the 7
struck casinos, has flown in scabs from Las Vegas and other cities
around the world as reinforcements....
From what I understand, you can't get room service and your room will
not be cleaned, but the food is still being prepared, although only
in the buffets...the sit down restaurant workers have been sent in to
keep the buffets open...(a lot of them are non union too...local 54
let that work go to scab subcontractors in the last contract 4 years
They're not the only union scabs...there are union carpenters,
electricians, painters and operating engineers who are maintenance
workers in the casinos...to my knowledge, they're still
working....although building trades carpenters, ironworkers, laborers
and other trades working on casino renovations at the Tropicana and
other properties are respecting the line....
Also, there are union actors, musicians, stagehands and teamsters are
involved in the live entertainment at the casinos....and, so far as I
know, they are still scabbing.....
And, above all...the slot machines are still buzzing, the poker rooms
are open, the race books are running, and, above all, the table games
are available 24/7......that's where the money comes from, several
billion dollars a year's worth...and the strike has totally not
disrupted those operations....no matter how much silly bullshit they
do with people dressed in costumes doing stage manged "arrests" out
on the Expressway dressed like Gandhi....
That Gandhi stuff is offensive on another level...a racial one....
Local 54 is White-led, and always has been...but, AC itself is a
largely South Asian Muslim town....most of the South Side of the city
is Pakistani, Bengali or Muslim Indian....a lot of the city's African
Americans are Muslim as well....and MOST of them work in and around
Since Gandhi's Hindu nationalism partitioned their homeland, and led
to the slaughter of 2 million Indian Muslims back in 1947, it's kinda
offensive for White union officials to throw that in their faces, in
their town, in their union....it's insensitivity at the highest
In any event, the 10,000+ UNITE HERE local 54 service workers are
getting screwed...and they have really horrible leadership, who are
pushing them down the path to defeat.....
GREGORY A. BUTLER, LOCAL 608 CARPENTER,
FOR GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE,