Atlantic City Casino Workers End Brief, Violent Walkout

Associated Press

A violent 35-hour strike by 13,000 casino employees ended Wednesday when negotiators reached a settlement and sent workers back to their bars, stoves and brooms in seven gaming halls.

Mobs that apparently included juveniles as well as strikers had thrown stones and bottles through casino windows, blocked traffic, disabled vehicles and tossed eggs at gamblers since the walkout began at midnight Monday.

Negotiations, which reached an impasse late last week, had been resumed Tuesday night under federal court order after strikers were called off picket lines by union President Roy Silbert in an effort to quell the unrest.

Workers Back on Job

Union and casino spokesmen said workers had begun returning to their jobs immediately after the agreement was approved Wednesday by the union's 99-member negotiating committee and shop stewards.

State mediator John Tesauro said the proposed three-year agreement, which must be ratified by members of Local 54 of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers and Bartenders International, calls for an average 2.9% wage increase each year for all workers.

Hourly wages vary among the employees and are lower for workers who receive tips. Bellhops, for example, were making $4.12 an hour while cooks and butchers earned $9.91.

The union and the Atlantic City Casino Assn., which bargained on behalf of seven of the eight affected hotels, agreed to continue current benefits, Tesauro said.

The walkout, the first against Atlantic City's gaming industry by Local 54, its largest union, resulted from a dispute over wages and benefits. Local 54's members make up about one-third of the work force in the city's 11 casinos.

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