Dealers at Bally's Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City voted overwhelmingly Saturday night to authorize a strike against their respective casinos.

The dealers, represented by the United Auto Workers union, were joined in the vote by slot technicians at Caesars.

UAW spokesman Dave Mellet said 97 percent of Caesars dealers and 100 percent of the slot technicians voted to authorized the strike, while 92 percent of Bally's dealers did the same.

The strike authorization means dealers are able to strike at a future date, although no actual strike date is currently planned.

The Detroit-based union is trying to secure a first-ever contract for its members at the casinos. Negotiations with Caesars management have been under way for more than a year and a half, while Bally's declined to bargain and has appealed a federal labor board ruling that it must.

The UAW says it is seeking assurances on employees' wages, job security and medical pension benefits.

Alyce Parker, a spokeswoman for Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which owns Bally's and Caesars, said Friday that the casinos are "operationally prepared" for a potential strike.

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