N.J. Casino Strikers Throw Eggs, Block Buses; 33 Arrested, 54 Hurt
Striking casino workers threw eggs at gamblers and blocked buses Tuesday in the first day of a strike over wages and benefits by about 13,000 workers who serve drinks, make beds and provide room service at eight of the city’s 11 gaming halls.
Thirty-three people were arrested and 54 injured, including one woman in critical condition, police and hospital authorities said.
A federal judge late Tuesday ordered the strikers to resume negotiations and to return to work, and union leaders called off the pickets, a union spokeswoman said.
Negotiations resumed, but there was no decision on whether to comply with U.S. District Judge Stanley S. Brotman’s back-to-work order, spokeswoman Mary Jo Juba said.
She said union President Roy Silbert “just called and said to send all the picketers home and have them call the union hall in the morning.”
She said the pickets were told to go home “because it was people who weren’t our members doing the rioting.”
The incidents, after a night of violent episodes, led a state judge to grant an order restricting the number of pickets at the casino entrances to three and limiting the union to four rallies a day on the Boardwalk with no more than 50 people at each.
Cars filled with screaming people holding picket signs drove up and down the main thoroughfare in front of many of the casinos throughout the night.
About an hour before talks resumed, a crowd of about 600 people marched the two miles from the Golden Nugget to Resorts International casino hotel, walking over cars and knocking down trash cans.
Contract talks between the Atlantic City Casino Assn. and Local 54 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union reached an impasse last week. The casino association is seeking a two-year freeze on wages and benefits for current employees and a lower pay scale for those hired after Monday.