Members of Local 54 of UNITE-HERE in Atlantic City were among the union supporters who picketed Wednesday in front of the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SEIU has been fostering a "hostile takeover" of its union, assisting in the secession of members and attempting to raid UNITE-HERE jurisdictions, according to UNITE-HERE.

New York-based UNITE-HERE said about 300 members were picketing, some holding signs that read, "Shame on you SEIU!"

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Ramona Oliver, a spokeswoman for the SEIU, said UNITE-HERE's claims are "clearly not factual." The SEIU represents about 2 million health care, building cleaning and janitorial workers nationwide.

Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said he is upset that SEIU president Andy Stern has not tried to support Local 54 as it prepares to renegotiate its contracts with 10 of the gaming halls in Atlantic City this summer.

Stern was previously in the resort in March, championing a new Gaming Workers Council to help dealers represented by the United Auto Workers union win contracts with their respective casinos.

The division between SEIU and UNITE-HERE has been mounting.

A group of UNITE-HERE members unhappy with the union's direction broke away last month and formed a new union, Workers United, which is affiliated with the SEIU.

The new union has been accused of being a "front group" for Stern and his attempts to raid UNITE-HERE, although Workers United leaders maintain that they are autonomous.

The struggle between the two groups has played out at Harrah's Chester, a casino and racetrack outside Philadelphia.

Last year, UNITE-HERE's Philadelphia Joint Board negotiated a contract to represent service workers at the casino.

But this year, the Philadelphia Joint Board decided to leave UNITE-HERE and join Workers United.

In mid-February, McDevitt said, 550 of 600 workers at Harrah's Chester signed cards to remain with UNITE-HERE and join Local 54 instead.

Elana Levin, a spokeswoman for Workers United, said the union had not heard of that event taking place.

"Local 54 has conspired with management at (Harrah's Chester) to deny workers the right to choose," Richard Minter, organizing director of the Philadelphia Joint Board, said in a statement.

A Harrah's spokeswoman was unable to talk about union representation at the casino.

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