ATLANTIC CITY — Blowing whistles, chanting “justice,” and carrying union signs, more than 100 Revel Casino Hotel employees and members of the resort’s largest casino union burst into Revel offices Thursday morning.
Their message: Allow the casino employees a chance to unionize.
Carrying a petition they intended to deliver to Revel CEO Scott Kreeger, the workers said they deserve a chance for union protections, particularly in light of the casino’s pending sale.
“We’ve heard a lot of rumors about (Revel) being sold, and we need some job security,” said Rebeca Franco, a cocktail server who has worked at the casino since its opening day. “This is the most chaotic it has ever been.”
Revel, which has financially struggled since its 2012 opening, announced last year that it was pursuing a sale or possibly a second bankruptcy. Since then, rumors of several interested parties have been floated. Local lawmakers have confirmed that Hard Rock International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are among the interested parties.
Hard Rock recently filed documents with state regulators inquiring about casino licensure.
“Everyone says Revel is for sale. ... What I haven’t heard is what will happen to us,” maintenance worker Equality Brown said.
On Thursday, security eventually let some of the members of the group into the back of the casino’s house to deliver the petition. Members of the media were stopped by security.
The group circulated a flier featuring nearly 70 Revel employees identified with their names, jobs and photographs. On the back was a note in English and Spanish signed by the group, which is referring to itself as the Revel Union Committee. Revel employs roughly 3,000 people.
“Revel lied to us. About raises. About respecting us and our work. We tried to make it on our own, and look where we ended up,” the note read. “New owners are coming in. And our jobs are already at risk. We are standing together to protect ourselves.”
Revel declined to comment on the petition and rally.
“We’re ready to hit the reset button on our relationship with Revel and work together to make Revel and Atlantic City great again,” Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said in a statement. “In order to do that, the workers need to have job security and a process to join the union without fear or intimidation.”
McDevitt also called state lawmakers who supported Revel’s construction to now support the workers.
Local 54, which represents 12,000 casino workers, has had an adversarial relationship with Revel since before the casino opened. The largest casino union in Atlantic City, Local 54 fought against a $261 million state tax reimbursement plan that allowed construction to resume on the once-stalled project.
Shortly after the casino opened in May 2012, Local 54, along with Teamsters Local 331 and United Auto Workers Region 9, tried to pressure Revel into negotiating union contracts to no avail.
Much like the previous push, the Revel Union Committee supported by Local 54 Thursday, wants Revel to allow an organizing drive during which interested workers would sign union pledge cards. It’s the same process that was used when Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa opened in 2003.
During the process, both the casino and the union agree to a neutral environment, meaning that neither party will make disparaging comments. If a majority of the workers pledges, the unionizing process moves forward.
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