ATLANTIC CITY- Time is almost up for hundreds of former casino workers who are collecting unemployment benefits.
As of last week, there were approximately 600 active unemployment benefit claimants who are former employees from the Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza casinos, said Kerri Gatling, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The state has seen 5,500 claims from casino workers since the four casinos, which also includes Atlantic Club Casino, closed in 2014.
Approximately 300 of those will lose their unemployment benefits this month and the remaining former casino workers will lose them over the next few months, Gatling said. From April 2014 to last month, 3,300 former employees of the four casinos have exhausted unemployment benefits, she said.
Chuck Jones, 62, of Atlantic City will be one of the 300.
Jones lost his job as a pit clerk at Trump Plaza after 27 years when the casino closed last year. The disabled, unmarried man cannot drive and had been basically home-bound since he lost his job. He is surrounded by piles of papers as he searches for a job and tries to sell his home on Fairmount Avenue. But he doesn't know what he'll do after this final check.
“I just filed for my last unemployment check — house still up for sale, had to lower the price, with still no offers of substance,” he said.
Federal legislators have been working for months to obtain some kind of relief for displaced workers, but bringing an extension of unemployment benefits to south Jersey will be difficult, said U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo R-2nd.
LoBiondo said never in the country’s history has extension like that been awarded to a specific geographic region, experiencing an employment crisis.
“Congress is not about to do it now,” he said.
He added that it doesn’t help south Jersey that President Barack Obama is touting how well the nation is doing financially.
But LoBiondo said he will continue to try to bring relief to the region in any way possible.
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